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Low Blows & Boxing Controversy: Joseph Agbeko Wants Abner Mares Again … in a Fair Fight

Exclusive Interview by Marc Anthony

“We have to have a rematch to prove who the real champion is.” – Joseph Agbeko

Joseph Agbeko, 28-3, 22 KO’s, first won the IBF bantamweight world title in September of 2007 against Luis Alberto Perez. .

In July of 2009, he defended his title for the second time against Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan. Agbeko, came out the winner and retained his title. In his third defense, he would lose his title to Yonnhy Perez by unanimous decision.

As luck will have it, Showtime put on a very prestigious tournament to crown the best fighter at bantamweight and Joseph was matched against Yonnhy Perez in a rematch. This time he was able to defeat Perez and regain his IBF title. Along with the win he was placed in the finals of the tournament opposite Abner Mares.

On August 13th, 2011, Agbeko and Mares fought a very close fight but also a very exciting fight. The fight did not go unnoticed by the boxing community, but not only for the fight being exciting – also for low blows and accusations of bad officiating.

RSR’s CEO and Publisher “Bad” Brad Berkwitt wrote an in-depth article about the incident which received a great deal of attention due to its honesty and call for action.

RSR spoke with Joseph Agbeko about his thoughts regarding the matter of Aug 13th.

MA: What are your thoughts about the fight and especially the 11th round?

It was a bad fight because I had a lot of low blows which I wasn’t going to be able to continue fighting. But because I have to give the fans a good fight, I continued to fight. I always take the risk to fight hard in the ring for the fans. The 11th round was so bad.

MA: Is a rematch with Abner a priority for you?

Yeah, definitely. We have to have a rematch because it was not a clean fight. The ref was bad and Abner was punching below the belt. This is a Showtime tournament and you need a clear champion… a clear winner. This fight doesn’t make you a proper champion to be called the best. We have to have a rematch to prove who the real champion is.

MA: Abner has been accused of hitting low blows to Vic Darchinyan as well. Is this something your coaches had warned you about and was it something that was in the back of your head or was there shock that he hit you low so many times?

Before the fight, when the referee came to our dressing room to give the instructions, my coach told him that Abner is a low blow puncher and we want you to know this and we want you to take care of this when we get into the ring. Because he always punches low blows. The referee was like “no problem” and we thought that he was going to take care of that. And we went into the ring, it was the same thing. Abner was punching low blows all the time. Every time he was punching low blows the referee was not doing anything about that.

And after every round, my coach complained to the referee and he said he was going to warn him and he never did anything about it. Abner was punching low blows and it was getting me weaker. I wasn’t getting my strength back to be able to perform the way I am used to because the low blows did so much to me and it was wearing me down.

MA: As a fighter can low blows happen that many times by accident?

I think he did it on purpose. Because you can’t punch someone below the belt over 20 or I think it was over 28 times, you can’t. If you are going to make a mistake and punch a low blow, maybe 3-4 times is okay but he was doing it all the time in every round. So, I believe it was intentional. The referee was very bad. The referee was the worst referee ever.

MA: Have you recovered or still hurt?

Yeah I feel hurt but I will be fine. I am definitely okay.

MA: RSR wishes you a speedy recovery and hopefully a rematch happens.

Thank you, I want a rematch so bad. Mares and Golden Boy has to prove they have a proper champion because throughout his career he has never beaten any top boxer cleanly. He had fight with Vic with a lot of low blows. He had a close fight with Yonnhy Perez and it was a draw. If Golden Boy wants to have a proper champion and if they want to call him a champion then they should let him have a rematch to have a clean fight and prove that he is the best. That is the only way I can say he is the best. For now Abner Mares can never be the best until he has a rematch with me.

Joseph Agbeko
Nickname: “King Kong”
Division Bantamweight
Professional Record: 28-3, 22 KO’s

2011-08-13 Abner Mares 21-0-1 Las Vegas, US L MD 12
IBF Bantamweight Title
WBC Silver Bantamweight Title

2010-12-11 Yonnhy Perez 20-0-1 Tacoma, US W UD 12
IBF Bantamweight Title

2009-10-31 Yonnhy Perez 19-0-0 Las Vegas, US L UD 12
IBF Bantamweight Title
2009-07-11 Vic Darchinyan 32-1-1 Sunrise, US W UD 12
IBF Bantamweight Title

2008-12-11 William Gonzalez 21-2-0 Newark, US W MD 12
IBF Bantamweight Title

2007-09-29 Luis Alberto Perez 25-1-0 Sacramento, US W RTD 7
IBF Bantamweight Title
2007-08-09 Fidencio Reyes 10-4-1 Las Vegas, US W TKO 4
2007-03-23 Baba Nsor 0-2-0 Accra, GH W TKO 4

2004-10-29 Sumaila Badu 3-2-0 Accra, GH W UD 12
vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) Bantamweight Title
2004-05-18 Volodymyr Sydorenko 14-0-0 Luebeck, DE L MD 12
EBA (European Boxing Association) Bantamweight Title
2003-06-13 Cedric Conway 15-3-0 Accra, GH W TKO 6

2002-10-04 Charlemagne Agbotomey 0-1-0 Accra, GH W TKO 4
2002-05-10 Sabin Bornei 1-0-0 Millwall, UK W TKO 6
World Boxing Federation Bantamweight Title

2001-09-08 Michael Kizza 14-1-0 Accra, GH W TKO 2
vacant World Boxing Federation Bantamweight Title
2001-07-27 Faustin Rostand 0-1-0 Accra, GH W TKO 2
2001-06-04 Ganiyu Olumifihon 0-0-0 GH W KO 2
2001-05-04 Moses Kennedy 0-0-0 CI W KO 2
2001-03-24 Mike Orlando 0-0-0 NG W KO 4
2001-03-20 Chris Bandel 0-0-0 CI W KO 2

2000-11-14 Johannes Maisa 15-0-0 Brakpan, ZA W PTS 12
African Boxing Union Bantamweight Title
2000-10-07 Arouma Yessoufou 0-0-0 BJ W KO 1
2000-08-29 Laurent Zakpo 0-3-0 BJ W KO 2
2000-05-05 Ola Balougon 0-0-0 Accra, GH W TKO 2
vacant African Boxing Union Bantamweight Title

1999-10-16 Friday Fatunji Felix 4-0-0 NG W KO 1
1999-09-19 Freddy Mutala 0-0-0 SN W KO 7
1999-07-30 Abdul Malik Jabir 0-0-0 Accra, GH W KO 1
Ghanaian Bantamweight Title
1999-06-04 Patrice Owai 0-0-0 BJ W PTS 6
1999-05-01 Roland Igbafei 0-1-0 Accra, GH W TKO 2
1999-04-04 Ray Medoza 0-0-0 CI W KO 8

1999-03-13 Laurent Zakpo 0-2-0 TG W KO 2

1998-12-16 Agaitor Yao 0-1-0 Accra, GH W KO 1

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