Prince Badi Ajamu returns
Story & photos by Rick Scharmberg
Nearly three years removed from his bout with the great Roy Jones, and over two years since his last fight, Prince Badi Ajamu (23-3-1, 15 KOs) is coming back. He will face journeyman DeAndrey Abron (15-5, 10 KOs) in a 12-round light heavyweight bout this Friday at Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In his last bout, on January 19, 2007, Ajamu stopped veteran Craig Cummings in two rounds in Olive Branch, Mississippi. Before that, Ajamu went the distance with Roy Jones Jr. in Boise, Idaho back in 2006.
When he announced his retirement, months after the bout with Cummings, Ajamu had some promotional issues, and had difficulties securing a meaningful bout. He has since made some changes, and can focus on fighting again.
“I still have my old team in place, but some people who didn’t really know boxing aren’t around anymore,” explained Ajamu. “I still have my own team in place, but it was the promotional aspect I was having a problem with. Now, I am working hand in hand with Dee Lee Promotions. There is a mutual respect. Diane (Fischer) respects me as a fighter and as a businessman.”
Prince still trains occasionally at Shuler’s gym in Philadelphia, but now fights out of R & B Boxing in Pennsauken, New Jersey, which is a lot closer to his Camden, New Jersey home. “I now have access to a gym where I don’t have to drive too far, so I am getting more rest,” said Prince. “The gym is spacious, and I have full access, and I can get some private sparring with no interruptions.”
Prince’s desire has returned, thanks to his new training arrangements. “Training is going pretty good. I am more content now, and I am getting back to what I got away from. My work ethic is back and I am working out more. I’ve trained more than seventy rounds so far for this fight,” he said.
Prince has no fear of entering the bout with two years worth of ring rust. “I’m not worried about being rusty because I get a lot of rounds of sparring in the gym, even when I wasn’t fighting.”
DeAndrey Abron, of Columbus, Ohio will present other problems for “The Boxing Prince”. Not only will Abron hold a three-inch advantage in height, he will be coming in on less than two weeks’ notice. Ajamu’s original opponent, Dallas Vargas, fell out with a back injury. According to promoter Diane Fischer of Dee Lee Promotions, they tried to secure Daniel Judah, but they could not make that fight either.
In steps DeAndrey Abron, who went twelve rounds in a losing effort against unbeaten reigning WBO light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei, in Dresden, Germany on April 26, 2008. In his last bout, Abron was stopped in four by Ajamu’s longtime gym mate and sparring partner, Yusaf Mack.
“I remember him from the amateurs, said Ajamu. “I know that he fought the best guys, and that he is strong. I didn’t realize he was six-foot-three, though. It will come down to a matter of styles. I know that Yusaf Mack stopped him. I did more boxing with Yusaf than anyone else over the years.
On April 24, 2004, Prince made the trek to Canada to face former WBO middleweight champion Otis “Magic” Grant, who, ironically, was in the midst of his own comeback several years after losing to Roy Jones Jr. In the seventh round of that bout, Ajamu hurt Grant, but Otis got a reprieve when the referee ruled that he received an accidental thumb to the eye, and allowed time for Grant to recover. Grant came back, and Ajamu suffered a heartbreaking, disputed majority decision loss.
Prince went on to win six straight fights, and then was selected as an opponent for Roy Jones, who was making a comeback after three straight losses, two by brutal stoppage. The bout took place at the Qwest Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Doing the logical thing against a fighter who was recently knocked-out, Prince jumped on him at the opening bell. He was able to pin Jones against the ropes, and rake him with an extended barrage of punches, but Jones, a future Hall-of-Famer, absorbed the punches and danced away. Jones went on to win a unanimous decision.
Ajamu was disappointed after the loss to Jones, but he was not discouraged. Six months later, he went on to stop Craig Cummings (53-6) in just two rounds. A short time later Ajamu announced his retirement from boxing. Now hat he has his professional and personal life in order, he is ready to resume his career.
In closing, Prince offered his expert opinion on the upcoming Roy Jones Jr. – Jeff “Left Hook” Lacy bout. “I’m picking Roy because I don’t know if Lacy uses his legs as well as Roy. If Roy doesn’t sit on the ropes where he can get caught, he will win.”
The event will be held in the Superstar Theater, located on the Dining Level at Resorts Casino Hotel. Doors open at 7:30 pm, with the first bout scheduled for 8:30 pm. Tickets are priced at $90, $75, $55 & $40 and can be purchased in person at the Resorts Casino Box Office, by calling Ticketmaster at 1.800.745.3000.