British light-heavyweight champion Bob Ajisafe looks to bag the vacant Commonwealth crown this Saturday night (June 13) in Bristol, when going up against Kenya’s Daniel Wanyonyi, and then intends to gatecrash world-class in the coming months.
The skilful 30-year-old is unbeaten in his last seven fights and last year won the MaxiNutrition Knockout Tournament with a classy fourth-round stoppage win over Matty Clarkson. He also holds victories over domestic rivals Travis Dickinson, Dean Francis and Leon Senior and is considered by most to be the best light-heavyweight in Britain.
“I definitely feel like I’m the best in Britain at the moment,” he said. “I’m the current British champion, so that speaks for itself, but I also genuinely feel I would beat all of the other light-heavyweights in Britain.
“I’m now on the fringes of European and world-class and I want to make that transition as soon as possible. That’s where I’m aiming to progress towards once I’ve captured this Commonwealth title. I’m looking to make a statement on Saturday night and then push on to the world stage. I’ve shown my class at this level and now I want to test myself at the next level.
“I won the MaxiNutrition Knockout Tournament very easily last year and I think that said a lot. I was up against the cream of the crop in this country and none of them got a look in. I felt very comfortable.”
Ajisafe’s next opponent, 26-year-old Wanyonyi, is based in Nairobi, Kenya and boasts a professional record of 21-6-2 (17 KOs). Known for his punch power and exciting style, Wanyonyi recovered from a patchy start to his eight-year professional career to win the Kenyan title and the African Boxing Union title.
In winning the latter, he defeated the unbeaten Matamba Debatch Postolo in Kinshasa, Zaire last June. The fight marked the first time Wanyonyi had gone twelve rounds in his career and he passed the test with flying colours, taking a unanimous decision at the bout’s conclusion.
Despite all this, Ajisafe, 15-2 (6 KOs), has yet to even see a picture of the man he faces this weekend.
“I haven’t seen any footage of him,” said the Leeds man. “I’m not even sure what his style is or whether he’s orthodox or southpaw. I don’t think he’s boxed outside Africa before, so his tapes aren’t exactly readily available.
“I just have faith and belief in my own camp. I know I’ve put in a lot of work for this fight and I’ll put trust in that hard work and also my skills, which I believe will be enough to deal with Wanyonyi. I’ll have a look at him early, work out what he’s about and then outbox him and break him down.
“I’m not going to overlook him or get complacent, though. I know he hasn’t mixed in my class before but that doesn’t mean he’s not capable or dangerous. His record suggests he can punch a bit, albeit at a lower level, and if he’s knocking people over he must have some sort of power. The thing is, you just don’t have a clue what sort of opponents he’s been facing in Kenya. They could be decent, they could be awful.”
Ajisafe continued: “No matter how good he is, it’s all about getting the win and looking good. I can’t afford to just beat this guy on Saturday night. I need to beat him in style and make people sit up and take note. After that, I can move on up the ladder.”
*** Lee Haskins and Ryosuke Iwasa fight for the vacant IBF Interim World Bantamweight Title and Bob Ajisafe and Daniel Wanyonyi fight for the vacant Commonwealth light-heavyweight title on June 13 at Bristol’s Action Indoor Sports Arena. For tickets, please contact the Ticketline Box Office on 0844 888 4402 or Sanigar Events on 0117 949 6699 ***