The name bantam refers to roosters and everyone knows roosters like to fight.
Colombia’s hard charging Yonnhy Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs) and Australia’s Vic Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) are two of the most combative roosters you will ever see in the prize ring. They should almost be declared illegal.
Despite the fall out of the finale between Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko due to the Ghanaian fighter’s back injury, Darchinyan and Perez are picking up the gauntlet on Saturday April 23 at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. Showtime will televise.
It’s fitting that the bantamweights clash in L.A.
Historically bantamweights emanating from this region have ruled for many decades.
Manuel Ortiz, a California native, is considered the greatest bantamweight of all time and he plied his trade in Los Angeles where he dominated he world scene from 1942 to 1950. With his ability to box or punch he held the world championship like a vise.
Others followed most of them from Mexico. Heavy-hitting bantams like Alfonso Zamora, Carlos Zarate, Lupe Pintor, and the very great Ruben Olivares dominated 118-pound division like it was their private club.
Sadly, the one Mexican bantamweight Abner Mares will not be fighting because of an injury to IBF bantamweight titleholder Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko.
“I was very disappointed but this is boxing and things happen sometimes,” said Abner Mares during the press conference. “It’s tough but I put myself in his shoes and I understand.”
Agbeko attended a press conference on Thursday in Los Angeles and apologized for not being able to fight.
“Abner is a great fighter and I know I need to beat him to be the best bantamweight,” said Joseph Agbeko.
Other fighters were mentioned to replace Agbeko, but this is a tournament final and only the deserved deserve to be there.
Perez and Darchinyan deserve to be the main event on the card and are quite capable of rekindling the bantamweight magic of Los Angeles.
“I love to fight in America, I love to fight in California. I've never lost in California, I love it,” said Darchinyan.
Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) is a former flyweight, junior bantamweight and bantamweight world champion from Australia and before that Armenia. The southpaw slugger has provided boxing fans with more excitement than a bag full of lit cherry bombs. This guy comes to explode on people.
Several years back, I remember seeing Darchinyan in one of the Southern California boxing gyms when Edwin Valero was terrorizing everyone. Guys would step in the ring and Valero would send them flying out. It was pretty amazing stuff. Of course, Valero ran out of sparring partners and volunteers so up stepped Darchinyan.
“I said I would spar Valero,” recalled Darchinyan while at the finale for the World Series of Boxing event. “Nobody would spar him so I did.”
The two southpaw destroyers went at it for several rounds as onlookers watched with their mouths open in awe. It was like watching two gunslingers letting loose with guns blazing and innocents looking for cover. After a few rounds both shook hands and went their separate ways.
“I had fun sparring with Valero,” said Darchinyan with a smile. “We both just punched each other.”
That’s Darchinyan. He loves to fight.
Colombia’s Perez is made for Darchinyan and vice versa. They won’t find it hard to find each other in the ring.
Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs) burst into the upper echelon of the world boxing scene when he stopped Silence Mabuza in that fighter’s native country. Then he beat Joseph Agbeko. And he did it by charging forward like a horde of cavalry. In their second fight Agbeko realized you can’t stop the cavalry so you move around it.
“In the first fight Agbeko came to fight and slug it out with me. In the second fight Agbeko came to box,” said Perez analyzing both fights with Agbeko. “Agbeko fought a great fight and he beat me. I'm not taking anything away from him.”
It’s difficult to predict what will happen when Darchinyan’s hard fists run up against Perez’s chain saw punching. One thing you can count on is action.
Once again L.A. is showcasing the bantamweights in the world.