“The Silent Roller” Efe Ajagba is quietly building a good resume. 

The 29-year-old heavyweight Afagba faces Guido Vianello, also 29, in the co-feature of the Saturday, April 13 Top Rank card from the American Bank Center, Corpus Christi, Texas. The bout will be televised on ESPN.

Ajagba (19-1, 14 KOs) has taken hard fights and has worked with two promoters, Ringstar Promotions (a promotion formed by Richard Schaefer) and now Top Rank. His lone loss was to Frank Sanchez, a fighter no one in the heavyweight division is eager to fight. Yet Ajagba’s style and how he uses his 6ft 6ins frame allows him to keep opponents at a distance while looking to land a sledgehammer right hand. It is not always must-see TV, but it is often effective. 

Ajagba’s 2023 was impressive. He upset two prospects to start the year, outpointing Stephan Shaw, and then defeating Zhan Kossobutskiy via disqualification. Ajagba ended his 2023 by knocking out Joseph Goodall, who had knocked out Shaw after Ajagba beat him. All of the wins are credible. 

Ajagba winning relevant and meaningful fights, even if it is just at a domestic level, could see him advance towards a title – or a career-high payday at the very least – but the lack of movement at the top of the division has found him fighting hard fight after hard fight and Saturday is no different. 

Now he looks across the ring at a man similar to himself in Vianello (12-1, 10 KOs). They were both 2016 Olympians. Ajagba represented Nigeria and Vianello was the representative of Italy. Ajagba was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan. Vianello lost in the round of 16 against Cuban Lenier Pero. 

Vianello’s high output combined with a better-than-average sense of defense and situational awareness makes him a tough test for any heavyweight, although his loss to Jonnie Rice a year ago has overshadowed some of his promise. Now, it is time for Vianello to prove where he stands.

Ajagba’s four-fight win streak, which he hopes to extend to five, should vault him into the mix at heavyweight. But, what mix? Ajagba is in a career-defining fight for what feels like the fourth-time in a row. At this point, one might assume he wouldn’t have it any other way.