Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA : 30-year-old American Boxer Curtis Harper instantly walked out of the arena when the bell sounded for his bout against undefeated Efe Ajagba of Nigeria in Minneapolis on Friday handing the Nigerian an easy win.
In boxing, they say you don’t get paid for overtime. For heavyweight Curtis Harper, he made sure he followed that adage to the letter – by walking out of the ring as soon as the bell rang.
Harper abandoned the squared circle when the gong sounded to begin his fight with Efe Ajagba in Minneapolis on Friday, choosing not to compete, saying he felt ‘disrespected’ by the payment issued to him for the match.
First time I’ve ever seen this: heavyweight boxer Curtis Harper walks out of the ring at the opening bell for his fight against Efe Ajagba on live TV! Ajagba wins by DQ without a punch thrown — Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) August 25, 2018
Ajagba, the promising Nigerian super heavyweight, improved his record to 6-0 in his professional career by disqualification, and it is unlikely that he will ever have an easier victory than the one he registered against Harper at the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) event.
After the start of the bout and as Ajagba approached the center of the ring, Harper opted to step out and make his way backstage.
If y’all are wondering I spoke to Harper and he said he walked out of the ring because he’s not getting paid enough to fight and that he wants respect. #AjagbaHarper #PBConFS1 — Jordan Hardy (@PBCJordanHardy) August 25, 2018.
Trainer Nate Campbell said he was “embarrassed” by his fighter’s move.
“This man disrespected himself, his wife, the fans and me,” Campbell posted on social media.
“Its sad that a guy with no integrity is trying to say anything about me period! A friend started a go fund me page I didn’t ask for it. Now this quitter is trying to say s*** about me. He cost me money didn’t want to pay me for my time and then s**** on the whole boxing industry! Talking about the guy that trained him couldn’t make it, judging by his physical form whoever trained him failed! He should never bring up our coach because he was using the fact I gave Doc my word to help him as a weapon. Curtis Harper is a p**! Now leave me alone, because the world saw your heart or lack there of. Oh btw he was trying to get paid. This guy cost me money and now he’s trying to make me out to be the bad guy!?” Campbell wrote
Promoter Leon Margules said he had no idea of Harper’s plan before the bout and confirmed the fighter received no payment as a result.
“He signed a contract and agreed to the fight,” said Margules. “First time we heard about money issues was after he left the ring. He weighed in and showed up on time and even touched gloves before the bell. It is strange.
“If he didn’t like the deal, why did he accept the fight and money?”
Harper had reached the bottom of the steps at the side of the ring with just five seconds gone in the round.
Fans began booing as he made his way along the walkway out of the ring and officials disqualified him at the one-second mark of the first round.
Harper now holds a record of six defeats and 13 wins, while Ajagba, 24, has six wins from six, including five knockouts.
Host broadcasters Premier Boxing Champions were as surprised as those in attendance at the Minneapolis Armory when Harper made his exit.
Commentator one: “Do not blink. Of Ajagba’s five professional bouts, four have been done in the first round – so he likes to bring an end to opponents in quick fashion.”
Commentator one: “And Curtis Harper has walked out of the ring.”
Commentator two: “Wait, what? I have never seen this before. He has walked out of the ring. He’s not fighting this guy. I have never seen this before in my life and the fans are really upset right now.”
In an interview in his dressing room after the incident, Harper said he “wanted to make a statement” because he felt he wasn’t being paid enough to fight Ajagba.