IBF bantamweight titleholder Yonnhy Perez leads the quartet of 118-pounders that include former champion Joseph “King Kong Agbeko, IBO titleholder Vic Darchinyan and undefeated contender Abner Mares.
The bantamweight tournament takes place in Tacoma, Washington and is promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, Golden Boy Promotions and Don King Promotions.
The two bouts will be televised by Showtime.
Many fans are excited about this tournament mainly because it harks back to the 1960s and 1970s when bantamweight sluggers were the norm.
Remember Ruben Olivares, Lionel Rose, Chucho Castillo and Rafael Herrera in their merry-go-round of world title fights with most taking place at the old Inglewood Forum? Or what about the following decade when Carlos Zarate, Alfonso Zamora and Lupe Pintor traded bombs? Those were the days.
Now we have Colombia’s Perez, Australia’s Darchinyan, Ghana’s Agbeko and Mexico’s Mares all bringing their own brand of fighting prowess to the ring on the same day.
“The fight is going to be a great fight because he’s a great warrior. I know how good of a fighter Agbeko is. I felt him in the ring and I know he is coming prepared and he will be trying to get that belt away from me, said Perez (20-0-1, 14 KOs), who though from Colombia fought numerous times in the Inland area. “But my preparation has been key for this fight and its going to be a very good fight.
Ghana’s Agbeko fought Perez on Halloween night in 2009 and their tussle was lauded one of the best last year.
“Yonnhy Perez is a good fighter. He is very conditioned and throws a lot of punches. He’s strong and is a very good fighter, said Agbeko (27-2, 22 KOs) who also beat Darchinyan last year before meeting Perez. “This time it’s going to be a different fight altogether. The outcome is going to be different.
The other half of the bantamweight tournament pits Southern California’s Mares against Armenian slugger Darchinyan.
“I know Vic is a tough, strong fighter and he is a champion. You have to train really hard and win and look good winning against the champion, said Mares (20-0-1, 13 KOs) who formerly trained in Indio but moved his camp to Los Angeles. “Vic has proven that he is a power puncher and strong fighter. I think speed is my advantage. I am ready for a slugfest or boxing match.
Darchinyan is a former flyweight and junior bantamweight world champion known for punching prowess. But now he’s in the bantamweight division and opponents are much bigger and stronger.
“I am comfortable at any weight. I can lose as much weight as I want or I can put on as much as I want, says Darchinyan (35-2-1, 27 KOs), who lost to Agbeko by decision in 2009.“It is going to be my show, my tournament. I am going to prove to everyone that I am very skillful and a good puncher. I am very prepared and confident.
Fights on television
Fri. Telefutura, 11:30 p.m., Luis Cruz (16-0) vs. Wilfredo Acuna (14-7).
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m. Antonio Pitalua (50-4) vs. Ed Paredes (25-3-1).
Sat. HBO, 6:30 p.m., Amir Khan (23-1) vs. Marcos Maidana (29-1); Victor Ortiz (28-2-1) vs. Lamont Peterson (28-1).
Sat. pay-per-view, 7 p.m., UFC 124 Georges St. Pierre vs. Josh Koscheck (2222); Joe Stevenson (36-11) vs. Mac Danzig (20-8-1); Stefan Struve (24-4) vs. Sean McCorkle (10-0).
Sat. Showtime, 9 p.m., Yonnhy Perez (20-0-1) vs. Joseph Agbeko (27-2); Abner Mares (20-0-1) vs. Vic Darchinyan (35-2-1).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV