By Prince Dornu-Leiku: Dethroned International Boxing Federation (IBF) Bantamweight king Joseph King Kong Agbeko has made a solemn pledge to his countrymen that he will not only reclaim his lost title when a date is finally set for his proposed rematch with Abner Mares, but the Ghanaian has vowed to knock out the Mexican low blow specialist.
“I didn’t promise that I will knock out Abner Mares before but it’s now that I will promise that I will knock him out. I think I’ve now faced him and I know I will stop him so I’m just getting back into the training routine and when we finally get a date, I will beat him,” Agbeko told Ghanaian journalists at Monday’s press conference to formally welcome him back into the country after controversially losing his world title to Mares.
Despite a flurry of low blows all fight long, referee Russell Mora failed to penalize nor even warn Mares as he rode the foul rule to a Majority Decision win over the Ghanaian in Las Vegas last August 13. The entire boxing world was taken aback, all in total unison to condemn both the referee and Abner Mares, many saying they do not recognize him as a champion.
The IBF, upon studying video evidence, ordered an immediate rematch within the confines of December 14, with purse bid scheduled for September 15. Agbeko has returned to the country in the interim to start immediate preparations towards the yet to be announced date for the rematch.
Present at the press conference were the bigwigs of Ghanaian boxing including Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) President Samir Captan and former world champion Azumah Nelson who is now Technical Director of the GBA. All were in support of Agbeko, chief among them Hall of Famer Azumah.
“I always say this guy (Agbeko) is a gifted champion. This world is up and down, you can’t go straight all of the time. The most important thing is to wake up and continue when you are down. I am giving you the assurance that we are going to celebrate in style,” stated Azumah who is credited with convincing Agbeko to take to boxing in the first place.
For GBA President Samir Captan who literally turned his speech into a sermon, Agbeko is the embodiment of a true boxing champion. Hailing him dedicated, calm and all boxing brain, Mr. Captan praised Agbeko for his composure and discipline in the ring even under testing circumstances from the referee. He further called on Agbeko to dedicate everything to God and all will be well.
“You set an example for younger ones by comporting yourself in the ring, you never showed remorse or anger in the face of intimidation. We thank you very much and in everything they say give thanks to God. I will give thanks to God for being here,” the GBA President extolled.
He added: “This is a time to dedicate yourself and everything to God because this is all the work of the devil. The devil wants to chain you but we break it in Jesus’ name.”
Afterwards, Agbeko could only thank the GBA and Ghanaians at large for their continued support even in defeat. He promised to bring back the title soon as a 3-time world champion. “We were supposed to be celebrating a two world titles triumph but I believe every disappointment is a blessing. I thank God for the opportunity I have now to be a 3-time world champion,” Agbeko said.
“I thank President Atta Mills for sending a 3-man delegation to come and support me. I thank Ghanaians for your support, you showed me love and concern when I needed it most and I promise to bring back the title when everything is settled and we get a date,” Agbeko concluded.