How many great fighters have come out of Ghana? Too many to be able to do justice in one article, that’s for sure. The latest fighter from Ghana to be making a name for himself is super-middleweight contender Sena Agbeko. This past Friday, 30 year old Agbeko, now based in Nashville, upset an unbeaten Isaiah Steen over ten rounds on a widely viewed ShoBox card.
Agbeko – brother of former bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko – improved to 27-2(21) with the important win, and Sena made it abundantly clear who he wants next – Caleb Plant, in what would be a grudge-match, the two having sparred many rounds together in 2015 to 2017. Agbeko insists he got the better of things and now he wants to prove he is the better fighter in the ring.
Here, Sena kindly takes time to speak with ESB:
Q: Belated congratulations on the win over Steen. Was that the most important win of your career would you say?
Sena Agbeko: “Well, every fight is important, but this one, being on a big stage and being my most recent win, it’s fair to say that. I got myself some exposure and now I want more!”
Q: Are you getting better at age 30?
S.A: “Absolutely. Not just physically, but in terms of mental growth and in terms of experience. I think the biggest problems older fighters have is that they get bad habits – drinking, smoking, being lazy in the gym. I’m married, I don’t smoke or drink and if I’m not at home I’m in the gym. Also, though I’m an 11-year pro, I’m still learning. I feel I will get even better, that I’m just starting to get to my prime. I feel in a year or so I will be at my peak. I’ve had three high-profile fights now and I’m just happy to be getting the opportunity. The win over Steen was the first time I defeated an unbeaten fighter.”
Q: And you took that fight on just three weeks’ notice?
S.A: “Yes, it was three weeks, but it was really just two weeks to train. You have the last week, where you are just cutting weight and kind of taking it easy. The original guy set to fight Steen fell out with Covid, so I was his last resort. It’s strange, but in my last fight, against a 21-1 guy (Winfred Harris Jr), Steen helped the guy in sparring. Then I beat him and Steen called me out. They called and gave me three weeks and I said yes, of course! So I was locked in on that fight.”
Q: We all know who you want next, and that’s Caleb Plant! You two have a history?
S.A: “Yes. I feel there are two things that could prevent that fight from happening. First, politics. He feels he’s in a better position than me, but also because Caleb has a way of using names, calling out names, to make himself look good. But yes, he did get that knockout win over Anthony Dirrell, so his stock went up, so of course he’s calling out big names. So will they risk taking a fight with me? A loss would change everything for them, as it would for me, but in a good way. And finally, I do feel Caleb is scared of me.
“The last sparring session we had, I beat him up. So much so that, afterwards, he thanked me for taking it easy on him. We sparred for two years and we were competitive at first. But then, later, he couldn’t get past four rounds with me. In fact, his coach stopped the spar. He called me into his office and he told me to take it easy on him. I have no doubt he’s a better fighter today, as that [last spar] was five years ago, but I’ve got better myself, a lot better. But I think those experiences are in his head; he knows I have his number.
“His coach, he did me dirty. I had a chance to sign with Mayweather Promotions but I was told not to and so I stayed with him. Then I was cut off. I remember when we got to Vegas and Caleb was sparring with George Groves and I asked to spar with Groves. They told me no, that I wasn’t ready. Yet I had manhandled Caleb in sparring. I believe they kept me at the back, not letting me shine. I had to make do with local shows in Nashville, where I’m living now. But I’m hot right now and I want the big fights, the big names.
“If I fight Caleb, I think I’ll stop him. I think I’ll stop him late. But if I can’t get that fight, I’ll fight David Benavidez, the guy everyone is afraid of. He’s great and he has power, but these are the fights I want now. I want the biggest tests. It was the same with Steen, he was supposed to beat me. I’ll fight anyone – Zach Parker, Caleb, Benavidez, anyone. And the guy who beat me (in February of 2021) Vladimir Shishkin, I’d like to fight him again. That fight was weird, I had a fog in the third round, something I’ve never experienced before or since. I couldn’t see. That fight, you cannot find it anywhere, not on YouTube or anywhere, yet you can find all his other fights. That’s a fight I’d like very much to do again. But as I said, I’ve got the experience of fighting and winning on the big stage now and I want more.”