New York, NY (7/16/13) - There comes a point in almost every fighter's career when they have to face a crossroads. This Friday night, in the main event of ESPN's Friday Night Fights,WBC #3-rated junior welterweight Olusegun Ajose (31-1, 14KO's) and longtime lightweight contender "Hammerin'" Hank Lundy (22-3-1, 11KO's) will face just that when the two square off in their 10-round junior welterweight showdown. The bout, promoted by DiBella Entertainment in association with Gary Shaw Productions and Classic Entertainment & Sports, will carry heavy implications for the two pugilists' respective careers. The winner puts himself in a very good position in the talent-laden 140lb. division, while the loser sees his career fall deep into jeopardy.
"This fight means a lot to me and is very important for my career," said Ajose. "I want my name to be amongst the elite of the 140lb. division."
"This fight means a lot. I just came off two recent losses that I thought I won-especially the one in Ukraine," said Lundy. "I really beat that guy [Viktor Postol], but I didn't get a fair shake. For this fight, I'm going to go in there and show the world that this isn't the last of Hammerin' Hank. I'm a force at 140 now."
Lundy continued, "I'm looking to prove that Hammerin' Hank is one of the elite fighters in the world. Everyone knows [Olusegun] from taking a beating against Matthysse. I've already been in the top 10 in the world and this will be the second time once I beat this guy. I'm a world-class fighter and a soon-to-be world-class champion. I'm going in there to give it my all."
In his only defeat as a professional, Ajose was stopped in a high intensity shootout with interim WBC light welterweight champion, and one of boxing's pound-for-pound most devastating punchers, Lucas Matthysse. Ajose and Matthysse went to war from the opening bell before Ajose was finally stopped in the 10th round of their 12-round championship battle. The bout was viewed as one of the most exciting of 2012, and while Ajose came up on the losing end, his stock certainly rose. Now, Ajose knows a win over the proven Lundy will put himself back in line for another crack at the coveted world championship.
"I know that Lundy is a good and skillful boxer and he is very tough. He always comes to fight and I do not expect an easy fight. That being said though, I know that I will come out victorious on Friday night. If I need to go to war to win this fight then I will do just that. If I need to box, then I can do that too. Whatever I have to do to win this fight I will do. I want to prove to everyone that I am a better fighter than what people saw against Matthysse."
While Ajose is confident going into this matchup and dreams of bigger and better things to come in his career, he is certainly not making the mistake of looking past his foe.
"I have my eyes set on Lundy right now and no one else. If I want to move forward in my career, I must win on Friday night. After Friday, I will talk about what is next for me, but without a win, there is no next and that is why I am taking this fight so seriously."
Lundy echoed similar sentiments regarding the importance of this fight, but he did admit to having one particular fighter in his sites.
"It's a do-or-die fight and I'm letting everything hang out on Friday. I'm going to come in there and put on a show and get a win against a guy ranked [No. 3] in the WBC. It'll be real big to come in there and handle business. That puts me in the No. 2 or No. 3 spot and gives me a chance to fight for a title.
"I'll give props where props are due. I respect Danny Garcia. We're both Philadelphia guys, but if I win, I want Matthysse. Everyone is running from the big bad wolf. Hammerin' Hank won't run from no one. Let's fight. Then I'll go from there and fight the champ."
The entire card is promoted by DiBella Entertainment, in association with Gary Shaw Productions, Classic Entertainment & Sports, and Rumble Time Promotions, and sponsored by Corona. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. ET, with the first bout scheduled for 8 p.m. ET. The televised portion of the card will be aired at 10:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN. In the televised co-feature bout, undefeated up-and-coming prospects Ryan "The Polish Prince" Kielczweski (16-0, 3KO's) and Miguel "Mikito" Soto (11-0, 11KO's) put their unblemished records on the line in an eight-round super featherweight clash.
Tickets, priced at $75 VIP reserved, $45 reserved and $35 for general admission, are currently on sale, and can be purchased by calling 603-898-2311.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV