Efe Ajagba produced a methodical knockout Saturday night, 2½ months after what the Nigerian heavyweight considers a “terrible” performance in his previous fight.
The 6-feet-6, 242¼-pound prospect knocked down huge underdog Razvan Cojanu twice before their scheduled 10-rounder was stopped at 2:46 of the ninth round on the Adam Kownacki-Robert Helenius undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Referee Ron Lipton ended their bout as soon as the 6-feet-7½, 255½-pound Cojanu took a knee after absorbing another thudding right hand from Ajagba (13-0, 11 KOs).
Romania’s Cojanu (17-7, 9 KOs) was knocked out for the fourth time in nine years as a pro. Each of his first three knockout defeats – to Donovan Dennis, Luis Ortiz and Daniel Dubois – occurred in the second round.
The 25-year-old Ajagba wasn’t exactly spectacular Saturday night, but he didn’t have any real difficulty with the game Cojanu.
A left-right combination stopped Cojanu in his tracks at about the midway mark of the ninth round. Another punishing right by Ajagba later in the ninth made Cojanu take a knee for the second time in as many rounds.
Lipton quickly waved an end to the fight after Cojanu went down late in the ninth round.
Ajagba’s hard right hand and the subsequent combination made Cojanu take a knee with just under a minute remaining in the eighth round. Cojanu answered Lipton’s count, but Ajagba blasted him with another left hook that wobbled Cojanu with 20 seconds to go in the eighth.
Lipton appeared on the verge of stopping the fight after Cojanu moved back toward the ropes. Cojanu threw a hard shot at Ajagba, though, which convinced Lipton to allow the fight to continue.
Ajagba and Cojanu exchanged left hooks a little over a minute into the seventh round. Cojanu caught Ajagba with a left hook near Cojanu’s corner late in the seventh round.