Top Rank plans heavyweight takeover

Top Rank has made an interesting power move in recent times with a concerted attempt to sign some of the best emerging heavyweight talent in boxing.

Last week, Bob Arum’s Las Vegas-based operation signed Nigerian puncher Efe Ajagba (13-0, 11 KOs) as it prepares for the next wave of elite heavyweights after the Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua era. 

The heavy-handed Ajagba has just moved over from Al Haymon’s PBC to Top Rank.
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/PBC.

Top Rank already co-promotes WBC champion Fury and IBF No.1 contender Kubrat Pulev, but has an eye on the future, having signed promotional deals with Ajagba, Olympic 2016 gold medallist Tony Yoka (7-0, 6 KOs), Italian hope Guido Vianello (7-0, 7 KOs) and rising prospect Jared ‘The Real Big Baby’ Anderson (5-0, 5 KOs) as well as veterans Oscar Rivas and Carlos Takam.

“We’ve talked a lot about the talented young heavyweights coming up behind Fury, [Deontay] Wilder and Joshua and Ajagba is right there in that group,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef told Yahoo Sports.

Ohio’s Jared Anderson is a perfect 5-0, 5 KOs so far. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.

The heavyweights cross over to a wider audience and appeal to more casual fans who have a passing interest in the lighter weights but possess a feverish appetite for boxing’s heaviest and most power-laden division.

Arum promotes arguably the best two pound-for-pound fighters in boxing in WBC, WBA Super and WBO 135lbs champion Vasiliy Lomachenko and WBO 147lbs title-holder Terence Crawford yet, despite those fighters’ obvious brilliance, the heavyweights are always an easier sell.

“No matter how much you tell them, ‘Hey, these little guys in the lower weights are more exciting and make better fights,’ the people love the fucking heavyweights,” Arum told Yahoo Sports. 

“There is nothing wrong with stocking up on some talented young heavyweights and putting them out there. I mean, these guys all have a lot of ability and we can put a lot of good fights on with them.”

The wisdom of those signings should prove evident in the years to come.

Olympic champion Tony Yoka (right) signed with Top Rank earlier this year.
Pictured here stopping Dave Allen in 2018.

Main image: Roman heavyweight hope Guido Vianello. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.