LAS VEGAS-Southern California’s Yonnhy Perez didn’t need airplane fighters to beat Ghana’s Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko by unanimous decision and didn’t need the phantom knockdown either in capturing the IBF bantamweight world title on Saturday.
A small but vocal crowd at Treasure Island Casino saw Colombian born Perez (20-0, 14 KOs) grab the title with an aggressive and non-stop performance against the energetic Agbeko (27-2, 22 KOs) who was making his third title defense on the Don King Promotion card.
It just wasn’t enough to stop a very hungry fighter in Perez.
“I trained to throw a lot of punches,” Perez said.
Perez was the slightly taller fighter and used his reach and legs to out punch the speedy former champion who never quit despite absorbing some monstrous blows early in the fight.
“I know Agbeko likes to throw a lot of punches, so I knew I had to be better conditioned,” Perez said.
Agbeko turned up the dial around the third round but quickly discovered that Perez had another gear too. Back and forth the two little giants exchanged blows reminiscent of the three battles Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez had a while back.
Perez started quickly with powerful combinations that seemed to stun Agbeko but never hurt him seriously. The first two rounds were the Colombian fighter’s statement on what to expect.
Agbeko realized he couldn’t hurt Perez early on so he began firing more and more punches with more intent to land than to hurt. Every so often he would mix in a bomb or two but neither fighter could put the hurt on each other.
A few low blows by Agbeko resulted in a warning from the referee but the fight was relatively clean. Perez emerged from the seventh round with a cut after both collided heads. The cut never endangered the outcome.
The 10th round proved controversial as another clash of heads forced Agbeko to wince and stop fighting. Perez never stopped fighting and landed a few blows including a left hook to the body of Agbeko who had turned his back. Down he went to the floor in what was ruled a knockdown by referee Robert Byrd.
“I didn’t see if it was a head butt,” said Byrd after the fight.
“The replay clearly shows what happened,” Agbeko said. “I was fighting well to that point.”
Both fighters fired non-stop in the remaining two rounds with neither able to take a clear cut advantage. The judges scored it a unanimous decision for Perez to give him the title 116-111 Jerry Roth, 117-110 Barry Druxman, 117-110 Glenn Trowbridge.
“I knew I was winning rounds and I deserved to get the victory,” Perez said.
DeMarco Grabs WBC Interim Title
Tijuana’s Antonio DeMarco (23-1-1, 17 KOs) captured the interim WBC lightweight title with a dominating performance over Nicaragua’s Jose Alfaro (23-5, 20 KOs) that ended with three knockdowns in the 10th round. DeMarco’s jab and speed proved too perplexing for Alfaro who seldom was able to land more than one punch at a time. A right uppercut in the 10th round sent the Nicaraguan through the ropes and a follow up combination dropped him the first time. A right hook floored Alfaro a second time and it looked like he might not be able to continue but he nodded yes to referee Joe Cortez. A three punch combination knocked down Alfaro again and the fight was stopped at 2:07 of the round.
“I wanted to press him with my right hand,” Alfaro said. “I got a couple but not enough.”
DeMarco was jubilant after the victory.
A heavyweight title elimination bout ended abruptly when a counter right hand from Tim Austin (28-4-4, 18 KOs) left Davarryl Williamson (26-6, 22 KOs) unable to continue at 2:37 of the fourth round. Both fighters had been exchanging evenly with Williamson landing multiple rights. But Austin seemed able to absorb most of the blows and eventually timed Williamson for the knockout win.
Lightweight southpaws Angelo Santana (7-0) and Miguel Gonzalez fought six rounds in a nip and tuck battle. There were no knockdowns in the fight but all three judges preferred Santana at 58-56 scores.
Texas welterweight James De La Rosa (20-0, 12 KOs) never stopped attacking the body of Miami’s Lenin Arroyo (20-11-1) and dominated the 10-round contest. All three judges had De La Rosa winning 100-88 twice and 99-94.
In a heavyweight bout Miami’s Bermane Stiverne (18-1-1, 17 KOs) scored a technical knockout in the fifth round over Jerry Butler (8-7-1). A left hook shook Butler and referee Tony Weeks immediately stopped the fight at 1:34 of the round.
In the opening bout of the big fight card Nelson Linares (19-0-1, 12 KOs) won by technical knockout at the end of the fifth round over Archak Ter-Meliksetian (16-8, 13 KOs) in a junior middleweight match.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV