King Kong Agbeko: ďIím ready for everything that Mares is going to bringĒ
by Geoffrey Ciani (Exclusive Interview by Jenna J & Geoffrey Ciani) - Last weekís 136th edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio (brought to you by CWH Promotions) featured an exclusive interview with reigning IBF bantamweight champion King Kong Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) who is scheduled to defend his title against Abner Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) tomorrow night in the Bantamweight Tournament Final on Showtime. Agbeko spoke about his upcoming fight and also shared his views on other aspects pertaining to the current bantamweight landscape. Here are some questions and answers from that interview:
JENNA J: You have a very big fight coming up against Abner Mares in the Finals of the Bantamweight Tournament. How do you feel about the matchup?
KING KONG AGBEKO: Yeah it feels good to be in the Finals of the Bantamweight Tournament. Winning this fight makes you the best bantamweight in the world. Iím so happy Iím in the Finals and Iím working so hard to achieve my dream as the best bantamweight in the world.
JENNA: Now this fight was actually supposed to happen back in April and you had an injury. Can you explain to the fans a little bit about what happened to you?
AGBEKO: Yeah I had a sciatic nerve and now Iím better. Everythingís okay so my body is fine and there is no problem anymore.
JENNA: Now what do you see to the people who might be favoring Abner Mares because youíve had that injury and they say that it might affect you still in some way?
AGBEKO: No, no, no. It happened to me just one time and it never happened to me before. The doctor said it could happen to anyone because of a long layoff and the long wait at the airport and the long seat on the flight. So it could result in a sciatic nerve, but it doesnít have any effect on me anymore.
JENNA: Since this is your second training camp preparing for Abner Mares, do you think that actually gives you an advantage that youíve had more time to prepare for somebody like him?
AGBEKO: Yeah I know Abner Mares had good time to train, the same as me. I also had a good time to train for this fight. We both are prepared very well and weíre going to get in the ring and then we can prove how well we did in our training camps.
JENNA: Okay now they say that the winner of this tournament has a very good shot at facing Nonito Donaire whoís returning towards the end of the year. Is that a matchup that youíd like to have?
AGBEKO: (laughs) Yeah, yeah of course. Donaire has the WBC and WBO titles so definitely I really want him. I want to get all the crowns at bantamweight. I want to be unified champion at bantamweight so I really want to fight Donaire after this fight. Weíll work it out.
GEOFFREY CIANI: When you look at Abner Mares and you look at his fight against your common opponent Vic Darchinyan, what did you learn from that fight?
AGBEKO: Well I have no issues about the fight. You know Abner Mares has to question himself on Vic Darchinyan. Vic is a southpaw and Iím an orthodox fighter, so itís a different way of fighting. So he could fight different against Vic and itís going to be different against me because Iím an orthodox boxer and a fighter and a smart one, so itís going to be different. I have no worries about the history of those fights.
CIANI: You mentioned you would have an interest in fighting Donaire if you won the tournament but Vic is another guy whoís been quite vocal in saying he wants the winner of this tournament. Would you ever consider a rematch with him?
AGBEKO: Yeah most definitely! I respect Vic so much. Heís a great fighter and a warrior, and I will always give him the chance to fight me again anytime he wants.
CIANI: Can you tell the fans out there a little bit about the working relationship that you and your trainer Adama Addy have together?
AGBEKO: Yes we have a very, very good working relationship. Weíve been together for a very long time now and he knows me very well and knew me very long. We put together our plans and everything works out good for us. So heís very good technically and he thinks as far as boxing is concerned is very, very good. Heís stayed behind me and Iíve been able to win my fights so I really like him and I enjoy working with him. We are like brothers.
CIANI: How do you feel about the game plan that he has set for you going into this fight with Mares?
AGBEKO: He has not given me a game plan yet, but everything is in order. With training weíve done everything. The game plan is just yet to come out.
JENNA: What do you think is going to be your biggest advantage against Mares?
AGBEKO: The big advantage? Mares is good. Iím good. The advantage is going to be Iím the smartest and most experienced and Iím very tough. I think that will be the advantage.
JENNA: Since you have a very unique fighting style, do you think that almost makes it impossible for Mares to prepare for you?
AGBEKO: Yeah, Iím a boxer and a fighter. Iím a skilled boxer. Iím very skillful. So when it comes to fighting I can fight, when it comes to boxing I can box, and when it comes to being smart in the ring I can. So those are my advantages.
JENNA: Now earlier we were talking about Nonito Donaire and how you would like to unify this division, but there are some interesting fights at 122 and the biggest one would be Jorge Arce. If you win this tournament and Nonito Donaire has no interest, would you consider a move up to 122 to face him?
AGBEKO: Yeah Iím thinking of moving up to 122, but after winning this tournament I might stick around for one or two more fights before going to 122.
CIANI: Going back to your last fight against Yohnny Perez, you avenged a previous loss. A lot of people were counting you out. What enabled you to come back and overcome the result from that first fight to beat Perez?
AGBEKO: You know I called myself the best bantamweight in the world and losing to Perez was a big blow to me. So I went back into the gym and worked on my mistakes and the things that I have to do, and I came back to prove to the world that Iím the best.
CIANI: Now that was a really high note for you, and going back to your injury for a second, how disappointed were you that you werenít able to get back out there in April to close out this tournament finale like it was scheduled?
AGBEKO: Yeah, it was really disappointing. I let my fans know because they wanted to see my on that day. I let them down and the whole promotion with the boxers on the bill, and they accepted my apology in good faith and I had a chance to get back into the ring.
CIANI: Now you won your first title against Luis Perez. How would winning this Bantamweight Tournament compare to winning your first title?
AGBEKO: There can be no other joy than having your first title. Having your first title is the most joy because youíve never seen that title before so winning the first time winning the title. Some people never get a chance to win a title. So when you win it for the first time the joy is just so big. Winning the tournament will be a great joy but not like winning a title for the first time. Winning this one is something I want to achieve so itís another joy and another big moment in my career.
JENNA: I asked you before what your biggest advantage was and what you thought of him as a fighter, but letís go down to game plan. What do you think is the most important thing for you to do actively against Mares to allow you to be victorious?
AGBEKO: My coach has not come out with a game plan for me yet, but all I know is Iím ready for everything that Mares is going to bring out. Anything that heís going to bring up, fighting, boxing, anything that heís going to bring up Iím prepared. My coach hasnít come out with a game plan yet but weíll know soon.
JENNA: So what is your official prediction?
AGBEKO: My official prediction is at the end of everything itís going to be Iím going to be the IBF bantamweight champion and the new WBC diamond champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko. So the night belongs to me.
JENNA: Do you see the fight going the distance or not?
AGBEKO: Abner Mares is a tough fighter and Iím a tough fight definitely. Iím ready for the distance. If a knockout comes Iím going to knock him out, but Iím not thinking of a knockout. You get to a stage in boxing where itís not easy for you to knock anybody out. So Iím expecting the distance.
For those interested in listening to the King Kong Agbeko interview in its entirety, it begins approximately forty-four minutes into the program.
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Article posted on 13.08.2011
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