Efe Ajagba vs. Zhan Kossobutskiy & Bakhodir Jalolov vs.
Onoriode Ehwarieme Round Out Heavyweight Tripleheader On
Heavy-hitting Nigerian contender Efe Ajagba will take on
unbeaten Kazakh southpaw Zhan Kossobutskiy in the 10-round
co-feature on Saturday, August 26 at Hard Rock Hotel &
Casino Tulsa. Ajagba-Kossobutskiy will be the co-feature to
the heavyweight showdown between Toledo-born phenom Jared
Anderson and Andriy Rudenko.
Uzbek Olympic gold medalist Bakhodir Jalolov will make his
Top Rank debut in the eight-round televised opener against
Nigeria’s Onoriode Ehwarieme.
Anderson-Rudenko, Ajagba-Kossobutskiy & Jalolov-Ehwarieme
will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at
10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT
Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs), a 2016 Nigerian Olympian, has
solidified himself as one of the division’s fiercest
punchers. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound slugger debuted as a pro
in July 2017 and secured six first-round knockouts in his
first eight bouts. He suffered his first defeat in October
2021 against Frank Sanchez. Following the loss, Ajagba had
surgery on both his elbows, returning in August 2022 to stop
Hungarian veteran Jozsef Darmos in the second round. The
29-year-old is coming off a 10-round decision win against
previously unbeaten contender Stephan Shaw in January.
“This is a great test for me as I continue my quest to
become Nigeria’s next heavyweight champion," Ajagba said. “I
am coming to Tulsa to score a devastating knockout and
remind everyone what I’m capable of doing inside the ring.”
Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) is a 34-year-old southpaw from
Kostanay, Kazakhstan. He has only gone the distance once in
his career, a six-round decision win over Kostiantyn
Dovbyshchenko in September 2018. In 2021, he went 3-0 with
three knockouts. In 2022, he dispatched former world title
challenger Johann Duhaupas in the fifth round and is coming
off a third-round knockout over previously unbeaten
contender Hussein Muhamed last November.
Kossobutskiy said, “I’m ready to make my debut in the United
States against a very strong opponent. I want to show that I
can beat the best in the heavyweight division, and to do
that, you must overcome very tough challenges. I look
forward to showing the world my abilities on August 26.”
Jalolov (12-0, 12 KOs) represented Uzbekistan at the 2016
Olympics before turning pro in May 2018 with a third-round
TKO over Hugo Trujillo. He built an 8-0 record before
returning to the amateur ranks in the summer of 2021 to
capture an Olympic gold medal. Jalolov then tallied four
knockout wins in the paid ranks before continuing his
remarkable amateur run in May with a gold medal at the 2023
World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The 29-year-old
wrecking ball returns to the pro ranks following his
fourth-round TKO over Curtis Harper last November.
Ehwarieme (20-2, 19 KOs) debuted as a professional with a
decision win over Junior Maletino Iakopo in December 2010.
He defeated his next 16 opponents by knockout, all within
five rounds. He suffered his first loss against Rodney
Hernandez in June 2019, but returned in December to stop
Ariel Esteban Bracamonte via first-round knockout. Ehwarieme
suffered a fourth-round stoppage loss against Kossobutskiy
in February 2021, and he is 2-0 with two knockouts since.
The 35-year-old, who represented Nigeria at the 2008
Olympics, blasted out Jeff Holcomb in only one round in
The ESPN+-streamed undercard includes some of the sports
brightest up-and-coming talents.
Rising featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (8-0, 5
KOs), the latest fistic talent to come from Brownsville,
Brooklyn, will fight an opponent to be named in an
eight-rounder. Carrington will make his fourth 2023
appearance following an eighth-round TKO win over Luis
Porozo in June.
Undefeated middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh (8-0-1, 5
KOs), grandson of Muhammad Ali, will face Sona Akale (7-1, 4
KOs) in a six-rounder. Ali Walsh will fight in Tulsa for the
third time as a pro following an eight-round draw against
Danny Rosenberger on the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko
19-year-old lightweight prodigy Abdullah Mason (9-0, 8 KOs)
will make his fourth appearance of 2023 in a six-round duel.
Mason was considered one of the brightest U.S. amateur
talents before signing with Top Rank in October 2021. The
southpaw returns after a second-round TKO win over Alex de
Oliveira on July 1.
In a 10-round junior lightweight tilt, Filipino Olympian
Charly Suarez (15-0, 9 KOs) will put his unbeaten record on
the line against hard-hitting Dominican Yohan Vasquez (25-3,
20 KOs). Suarez heads to Tulsa following a 12th-round TKO
win against then-unbeaten Australian Paul Fleming on enemy
Kazakh Olympian Ablaikhan Zhussupov (3-0, 2 KOs) returns in
a welterweight clash scheduled for eight rounds.