Hard-hitting Argentine wears down Nigerian, scores dramatic knockout.
By Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: It was supposed to be the toughest test thus far of the blossoming career of Olusegun Ajose, an unbeaten welterweight contender on the rise. Though he’s still a virtual unknown across the world save for the diehard boxing fans, Ajose was thought by a sizeable chunk of the boxing world as an up-and-coming tactician who would eventually capture one of the title belts along the way.
Standing in the middle of his path at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas toward a world title and potentially lucrative bouts was Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse, a veteran with murderous punching power who’s been in with some of the best. Though Ajose was picked by plenty to topple Matthysse and keep his unblemished professional intact, the resident of Lagos, Nigeria was going to have to earn his victory.
In hindsight that might have been foolish thinking because as it turned out, Matthysse was way too experienced and simply a much better all-around fighter on Saturday night. Their battle was the main event of a Showtime Championship Boxing-televised event held inside the Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino and though it was an entertaining affair, it was one-sided from the outset.
Matthysse charged at his foe from the opening bell and landed dozens of hard overhand right hands and several thudding hooks to the body. Oftentimes throughout the duel, Ajose was rocked by right crosses and had to fight his way out of trouble or retreat in an effort to recover his senses. Ajose continuously tried to steal the thunder and momentum away from Matthysse, but the Buenos Aires bomber was relentless and never allowed Ajose in the fight.
Matthysse badly hurt his adversary with about a minute remaining in the second and swarmed Ajose until the bell saved him. Matthysse followed suit at about the same time in the third and fourth rounds, but Ajose was as tough as they come; he never left his feet. Ajose fired back at his aggressive opponent every chance he could, but he just seemed a step behind and his punches were nowhere near as potent as Matthysse’s.
As the rounds wore on, it was obvious that Ajose needed to mount some sort of comeback, but every time he appeared to be on the brink of seizing control of the action, Matthysse rifled off either a short right hand or a chopping left hook. Matthysse’s right hand was the tool of the trade as it routinely found a home on Ajose’ jaw; it was the hand that inevitably ended the encounter.
The Nigerian was worn down by the midway point of the tenth stanza and once Matthysse stepped on the gas in said frame, the end was right around the corner. Matthysse hurt him again with a right hand and after Ajose was allowed to continue after an accidental low blow, Matthysse closed the show.