Former British light-heavyweight champion Bob Ajisafe has hit back at Hosea Burton after the undefeated contender blamed him for a decline in the division.
Ajisafe recently vacated the Lonsdale Belt without defending it in almost two years, but the fighter himself says it was through no fault of his own as a couple of his planned defences went unsanctioned.
‘The Lionheart’ also shot down Burton’s version of a sparring session which Ajisafe is adamant didn’t take place, whilst denying that he has avoided facing the Joe Gallagher-trainer boxer at any point in the past.
“I after won the belt I was set to defend it twice in 2014 in a semi and final of the Maxi Nutrition KO tournament,” Ajisfae exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Unfortunately, none of the fights were sanctioned by the board as credible to defend against, plus there was no mandatory at the time. In
“In 2015, I was put forward to fight for Commonwealth title so I switched my attention to that. In April Last year, I was set to fight mandatory challenger Daniel Wanyonyi in Leeds but two days beforehand I was told he couldn’t get a visa and so I immediately thought we should reschedule.
“Matchroom wanted a title fight on that show so the fight was offered to Burton, which is what I was told. I had just come back from Montreal in camp sparring Artur Beterbiev and I was preparing for Wanyonyi who is an average height, aggressive and has a come forward style.
“That is the reason I declined Burton, plus the fact that he wasn’t mandatory. I wasn’t just going to hand him a shot, so since then he’s been piping up saying I’m ducking him, which is laughable! He has also been trying to discredit my name and achievements, which I don’t take kindly to.
“I’m not ducking him or anybody and if he got himself into a mandatory position then I’d have fought him. The truth is he wasn’t ever mandatory and you have to earn your shot in boxing.”
Ajisafe went on: “Another thing I’d like to clear up is that he has never sparred me, so that’s not true.
“I cleaned up the division domestically hence why I vacated my belt after I had beat the best. I’m on another level now and that’s where I’ll be contending from now on.
“The truth is nobody wants to see me fighting domestically anymore and that’s why I gave up my belt, because tv don’t want to pay the money to put on my defence.”
A defence of his newly-acquired Commonwealth title could now be on the horizon for Ajisafe, whilst Burton will battle Miles Shinkwin for the vacant belt left behind by the southpaw. Ajisafe may be looking on to European title level by the time Burton could be the new UK champion, so a fight between the two may be on hold for the time being.
Ajisafe could be looking on to European title level by the time Burton has claims to be UK champion, so a fight between the two may be on hold for the time being.