by James Slater – Back in July, 29-year-old Joseph King Kong Agbeko made a name for himself in the U.S by defeating the murderous-punching Vic Darchinyan, a man who was a big favourite to win going in. In defending his IBF bantamweight belt for a second time with his points win over “The Raging Bull,” the man from Accra, Ghana proved a lot of people wrong, whilst also forcing Darchinyan to step back down a weight class..
Now that he’s arrived on the world stage, Agebeko is looking forward to retaining his belt and then perhaps moving up in search of winning another title. Next up for the 27-1(22) champ is a scheduled date (according to BoxRec) with his IBF mandatory challenger, the unbeaten Colombian Yonny Perez. Set for October 31st in the U.S (site to be determined) Agbeko-Perez looks a very close fight on paper.
Though he may well be largely unheard of in some quarters, 30-year-old Perez, who was born in Colombia but now lives in California, is a genuine contender (interestingly, Ring magazine, in their June issue, ranked Perez higher than they did Agebko). Having earned his shot at Agbeko by travelling to South Africa and TKO’ing the dangerous Silence Mabuza in the 12th-round back in May, Perez is an opponent Agbeko must take 100-percent seriously. At 19-0(14) as a pro, the 30-year-old has kept a clean sheet since his debut back in July of 2005. And before that, Perez enjoyed a standout amateur career whilst fighting for his homeland – becoming a national amateur champion, and competing in Pan Am and world amateur games.
Tough, determined and very hungry, Perez may well end up giving the reigning IBF bantamweight champ a harder fight that Darchinyan did. Agbeko has great physical strength and he has excellent stamina and an above average punch in terms of power. But guess what, Perez is a fighter who it could be said has these very same qualities. A very even-looking match, October’s battle could even be a fight of the year candidate.
Expect a long, hard fight; most likely one that sees the final bell. Neither man has given any reason for us to doubt their chin, and though he can be a little leaky defensively at times, Agbeko looks a very hard man for anyone to stop – again, the same goes for his challenger. Due to his greater pro experience, the slight edge goes to Agbeko, but a win for Perez would not be a shock. I go for the champ to retain by close decision in a gruelling fight.