Avoided African welterweights to clash on London undercard!

By Ben Carey


Avoided African welterweights to clash on London undercard!

In the chief supporting bout at London's York Hall on Thursday night, June 29, 2006, two men who nobody else wants to fight will duly square off against each other. Nigeria's Ajose Olusegun and Glossop-based Namibian Ali Nuumbembe will meet in a superb ten-rounder. Unbeaten southpaw Olusegun, 16-0 with 8 KOs, was to have fought Brixton's Ted Bami for the vacant Commonwealth light-welterweight title on this bill but Bami is out for reasons unknown. When efforts to match Olusegun with Colin Lynes and Gary Reid failed to come to fruition, the opportunity-starved Nuumbembe, 15-1-1 with 6 KOs, agreed to step in on just 72 hours notice. Unlike most late replacements, Nuumbembe arguably represents Olusegun's toughest challenge of the lot.

Praise must be given to promoter Frank Maloney for matching two of his fighters together in order to deliver the knowledgeable York Hall crowd this intriguing pick'em contest. Both of these quality operators were accomplished amateurs who have arrived in Britain seeking to make their fortune. Nuumbembe captured a bronze medal at the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Olusegun competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, losing to former amateur standout Ricardo Williams under the outclassed rule.

Ali is currently mandatory challenger for Kevin Anderson's Commonwealth welterweight crown, but having being kept waiting for his big chance he wasted little time in agreeing to take on the dangerous Olusegun. Indeed, Ali's finest performance to date came when he accepted a similar assignment
against the then undefeated David Barnes for the WBO inter-continental welterweight bauble on just five days notice at the Barnsley Metrodome last April. Roared on by a fanatical following, which bizarrely created the impression that the Namibian was the home fighter, Nuumbembe extended Barnes all the way and earned a thoroughly deserved draw following twelve engaging rounds. Ali's performance should have led to further opportunities but instead he has been avoided by many of Britain's leading welterweights. Nuumbembe has remained busy however, racking up four wins while waiting patiently on the sidelines. His solitary defeat is a reportedly controversial one, coming on points to compatriot Bethuel Ushona back in his native Namibia in October 2004.

Olusegun has endured similar frustrations. After hammering Bradley Pryce in four rounds in September 2004, the Nigerian has been restricted to only two outings since. Pryce has since gone onto to capture the Commonwealth light-middleweight crown, decisioning Ossie Duran. Olusegun's challenges to Junior Witter and Ricky Hatton have barely been considered, let alone entertained. But now backed by promoter Frank Maloney the 26-year-old can inject some much needed momentum into his career with a win here.

Ajose oozes confidence and although only containing eight stoppage wins on his ledger is a spiteful hitter. He blew away Alexander Abramenko in two rounds last month.

Nuumbembe, two inches shorter at 5'7, is likely to possess the edge in strength though it's worth remembering that Olusegun easily brushed aside Bradley Pryce when competing at welterweight. Ajose can be reckless which could result in him being picked off in the early stages by the more stylish
Nuumembe's jab. However, I eventually see Olusegun getting to Nuumembe late on for a stoppage win. Ali's legs stiffened on more than one occasion against David Barnes but the lacklustre Mancunian failed to capitalise. The marauding Olusegun will need no such invitation. The Nigerian can come from behind and stop a tiring Nuumbembe in nine rounds.


Send questions and comments to: benjcary@yahoo.co.uk