World ranked cruiserweight Ola Afolabi (22-4-4, 11 KOs) once again has punched himself into the thick of things in the cruiserweight division. Afolabi is fresh off of his upset of Rakhim Chakhkiev (24-2, 18 KOs) of Russia who he defeated last week by knockout. In true Afolabi fashion he was trailing on the scorecards prior to getting the stoppage on Chakhkiev’s home turf. Afolabi entered the bout coming off of a world title loss in his last bout to Victor Ramirez in the latter’s native Argentina. Once again Afolabi gave the local fighter all he could handle before dropping a close decision loss in which he was deducted two points for low blows. This has been quite a ride for Afolabi who has made a habit of surprising cruiserweights over the past decade as the visitor.
In 2005 an unknown Afolabi traveled to San Diego, California to face former cruiserweight world champion and local fighter Orlin Norris. The fight on paper seemed to be no more than a tuneup for the much more experienced Norris. Afolabi completed dominated the action and former champ in route to stopping him in round 7. The bout ended up being Norris’ final pro fight as he ended up retiring. Afolabi would be inactive for three years following his fight with Norris before getting the call on short notice to face an unbeaten world ranked Eric Fields again as the visitor on the opponent’s promoter’s show. Afolabi would go on to stop Fields inside the distance in dramatic fashion. This win would see him go from the obscurity of ballroom fighting and onto the European scene where cruiserweights are much more mainstream.
Less than a year after his upset of Fields he would go into the United Kingdom where he was born and upset local favorite Enzo Maccarinelli by spectacular knockout. This would set him up for a showdown with world champion Marco Huck later on that year. He would drop a hard fought decision loss but would end up fighting Huck two more times drawing once and again losing by a close decision. The recent upset for Afolabi over Chakhkiev could set him up for a showdown with world champion Denis Lebedev who successfully defended his title on that same night Afolabi fought Chakhkiev. Lebedev knocked out Lateef Kayode. A fight with Lebedev would likely land in Lebedev’s native Russia. This would seem fitting for Afolabi if he were able to pull of this type of major upset to become world champion.