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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Ajose Olusegun
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) Intercontinental Light Welterweight Champion Ajose Olusegun. 

Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


Former WBF Intercontinental Light Welterweight Champion Ajose “The Gun” Olusegun never really wanted to become a boxer. Despite his father being a former fighter and a trainer, as a child Ajose dreamt of becoming a Basketball player.

He was born on December 6, 1979 in Lagos, Nigeria, and claims it was all by accident that he got a start to what would turn out to be a very successful boxing career. As a kid, he went to the gym one day, and was tricked into sparring with a girl who had trained in the sport for a long time.

According to himself, Ajose took quite a beating from the girl, which initially made him cry, but later inspired him to return to the gym to learn. As an amateur he won the All African Games in 1999, and went on to represent Nigeria in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

In Sydney he lost in the second round of the competition, to American Ricardo Williams Jr., and while his dream had always been to win Olympic Gold and then retire, he decided he would not wait another four years for the chance, and opted to turn professional instead.

Olusegun received sponsorship to start his professional career in the United Kingdom, initially guided by Nigerian-born former British Heavyweight Champion James Oyebola. He also had options to turn over in America and Australia, but chose the UK because it was easier to visit his home-country from there.

A 21-year-old Ajose made his professional debut on May 24, 2001 at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, stopping, in the first round, a man who went by the name of Tony Montana (3-2-2), inspired by the famous character from cult-movie Scarface, but was really a Sheffield-based Serbian called Elton Gashi.

Less than a month later, journeyman Woody Greenway (7-25-1) suffered the same fate, before it was decided that a tougher assignment, and home-coming, would take place on September 9 in Lagos against Sunday Ajayi (9-1-1), whom Olusegun beat on points over six rounds.

Stuart Rimmer (8-22), Gary Flear (28-27-1) and Keith Jones (7-62-6), all capable and durable journeymen, were beaten in London over the following months, setting up a fight against local man Martin Holgate (11-2) for the vacant WBF Intercontinental Light Welterweight title on October 30, 2002.

In the main event of a show staged by World Sports Organization at the Equinox Nightclub in London, Olusegun impressively stopped Holgate in seven rounds to win his first professional championship in only his seventh paid outing.

After a trip to Israel, where he stopped debutant Vladimir Kortovski in the first stanza, Olusegun returned to Lagos where he finished 2002 by winning the vacant Nigerian national title in the sixth round against Adewale Adegbusi.

2003 saw him fight three times in London, beating Romanian Cristian Hodorogea (4-8), former foe Keith Jones (now 9-72-7) and Karl Taylor (16-66-6) on points, taking his professional ledger to 12-0 (6) and a crack at his third title in less than three years.

On April 10, 2004 at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar, Nigeria, Olusegun took the African Boxing Union (ABU) Light Welterweight title from Benin´s defending champion Victor Kpadenou (4-3 on BoxRec, but in reality with more fights), winning by unanimous decision.

Now the WBF Intercontinental, Nigerian and African Champion, Olusegun had done extremely well in a short period of time, but he still needed a signature win. And, full of confidence, he was not afraid to go into his opponents back-yard to get it.

Bradley Price (19-4) had beaten some very good fighters, won WBO Intercontinental and Welsh Area titles, and challenged for the British title, when he welcomed Olusegun to Newport in Wales on September 3, 2004. But the guest didn't bring any presents, and stopped the local favorite in four rounds.

Olusegun only fought once in 2005, defeating former Romanian Champion Vasile Dragomir (11-3-1) by wide decision. Aliaksandr Abramenka (13-10-1), Ali Nuumbembe (15-1-1) and Franck Aiello (5-17) were all stopped inside the distance in 2006, but title fights were suddenly eluding him.

However, that would change in 2007. Tough Ukrainian Volodymyr Khodakovskyy (15-12-2) was out-pointed in March, before Olusegun was appointed to face British-based Jamaican Gary “The Body Snatcher” Reid (13-16-1) for the vacant Commonwealth title.

The fight took place on June 15 at National Sports Centre in London, headlining a show promoted by Frank Maloney and broadcast by Sky Sports. Olusegun would not be denied that night, and won decisively on the scorecards: 120-108, 119-109 and 119-110.

Olusegun defended the Commonwealth strap against Nigel Wright (18-2-1), Scott Haywood (19-2), Nigel Wright again, and former Commonwealth, European and IBO World Champion Colin Lynes (33-7). Especially the knockout in eight rounds of Lynes was a sign that Olusegun was ready for the world stage!

With a record of 29-0 (13), Olusegun ventured to the USA in September of 2011 to take on Ali Chebah (35-1) in a title eliminator for the WBC World title. He comprehensively beat Chebah by unanimous decision, and earned a shot at then WBC World Champion, Mexican legend Erik Morales.

Now signed to American adviser Al Haymon, Olusegun instead ended up fighting Argentinian power-house Lucas Martin Matthysse (31-2) for the WBC Interim World title a full year later, with no fights in between, and was stopped in the tenth round.

Seven months on he returned in a low profile bout at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, winning on points over eight rounds against no-hoper Rynell Griffin (6-14-2), and three months after that Olusegun lost almost every round of a ten-rounder to Henry Lundy (22-3-1).

He had worked so hard to get to the top, and paid his dues on the way, but, when he was finally on the threshold, things didn't work out for Olusegun. More than eighteen months after the loss to Lundy, he returned with a victory in London, in December of 2014, but he hasn't boxed since.

Winning WBF Intercontinental, Nigerian, African and Commonwealth titles, Ajose Olusegun accomplished a lot in his 32-2 (14) career. But many, including himself, feel that he could have done even more, and that only by winning a world championship would he have fulfilled his potential.

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  Part 57: Evander Holyfield
  Part 56: Peter Culshaw
  Part 55: Rolando Toyogon
  Part 54: Joaquin Velasquez
  Part 53: Steve Molitor
  Part 52: Nadya Hokmi
  Part 51: Bert Cooper
  Part 50: Alfred Kotey
  Part 49: Yosuke Nishijima
  Part 48: Wayne Rigby
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  Part 45: Lester Ellis
  Part 44: Patrick Vungbo
  Part 43: Patrick Washington
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  Part 35: Joe Bugner
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  Part 33: Darrin Morris
  Part 32: Suwito Lagola
  Part 31: Aaron Zarate
  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
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  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
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  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
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  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
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  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson

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