Light heavyweight Bob Ajisafe is hoping that 2016 will present him with some exciting opportunities to progress his career, as he seeks an opportunity to eventually fight for an elusive world title.
Since losing to world title challenger Tony Bellew back in 2010, Ajisafe (16-2, 7 KO) has impressively rebuilt his career and in the process cleaned up the division domestically – winning the English, British and most recently the Commonwealth light heavyweight titles.
The 30-year old, nicknamed ‘Lionheart’, has not fought since June – when he defeated Kenya’s Daniel Wanyonyi to add the Commonwealth title to his growing belt collection. The Leeds fighter had hoped to fight again this side of Christmas, but has had to postpone any bout until early next year.
“I was hoping to fight on December 5, but I’ve had a fair few setbacks in camp, so I thought instead of taking a risk, wait until early next year to box again. It’s a minor setback, as I wanted to fight last week and I was working well towards that date, but I wasn’t 100% and you need to be when defending titles. It was a tough call to make, but it was probably for the best,” Ajisafe exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Next year could be big for me. I’m looking to progress and I’m ready to reach the next stage on my journey – that’s the main aim. I’ve been at the top of the domestic scene for a while now, its time to move up.
“I’m happy to take any route to get to that world level, whether that be by defending my titles, getting interim belts or fighting for the European title. Whatever option presents itself, we will take it. I want to get in the rankings with the main governing bodies and will hopefully get some eliminators next year. The ideal plan would be to make one defence of one of my belts, then have an eliminator to put me in the top 10 of the main organizations,” Ajisafe said.
The 175lb division is thriving at the minute on the world scene with the likes of Sergey Kovalev, Adonis Stevenson and now Andre Ward leading the way. However, domestically the division cuts a bit thin with Ajisafe and Nathan Cleverly the only ones seemingly on the cusp of that world level.
“I’ve pretty much dominated the domestic scene for a while and feel I am well past that level now. Cleverly has just come back down to light heavy and I would happily face him. He’s a former champion, so will be targeting world honours as well. A fight between us could be a big clash, especially if for a world title eliminator,” the British champion added.
“In my eyes Kovalev is the best in the division at the minute, but If anyone can beat him it will be Andre Ward. If that fight comes off, it will a very exciting, intriguing battle between two great fighters and will be brilliant for the sport and the division.
Matt Horan is a lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123