Agbeko To Defend Crown Against Perez

Bantamweight titlist Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko, who scored a career-best victory against junior bantamweight champion Vic Darchinyan in July, will be back in action in short order after agreeing to face mandatory challenger Yonnhy Perez on Oct. 31. The fight, at a site to be determined, will be the main event of a Showtime-televised doubleheader, Perez co-promoter Gary Shaw said Thursday. Shaw said he and Agbeko promoter Don King made a deal and that Showtime was on board. It will be Agbeko's second Showtime fight in a row against a Shaw-promoted fighter. Lightweight Antonio DeMarco, whom Shaw promotes, against the King-promoted former titlist Jose Alfaro will open the telecast, Shaw said. "I think Yonnhy and Agbeko is going to be a terrific fight," Shaw said. "Yonnhy will not take a step back. I think Yonnhy will fight a smarter fight than Vic fought. We have to be careful with Agbeko using his head. That's an important thing because he really cut Darchinyan up using his head. Yonnhy is very, very hungry for this. He's got nothing and he needs this." Agbeko (27-1, 22 KOs) won a unanimous decision July 11 in a strong performance to upset the power-punching, trash-talking Darchinyan, the unified 115-pound champ who was moving up in weight to challenge for Agbeko's 118-pound title. Agbeko dominated the fight and won a unanimous decision. Vinny Scolpino, Agbeko's manager, expects a similar fight against Perez. "My guess is that Joseph beats the hell out of him for 12 rounds," Scolpino said. "Yonnhy is a tough guy, though. You have to give him credit for that. He's a good fighter. But Joseph is, too. He always comes to fight. Hopefully, he wins his third defense and then we'd like to unify titles. There are a lot of good fights for us. The Filipino Flash [Nonito Donaire] is also out there and he says he wants to move up and fight for a bantamweight title. Well, we're here. That would also be a great fight. Perez is first. "Joseph is ready to go. He's definitely excited about staying active while he is at the top of his career." Agbeko, 29, a native of Ghana living in New York, stopped Luis Perez at the end of the seventh round in September 2007 to win the title. Because of long layoffs he's only made two defenses, taking an all-action decision from William Gonzalez in December 2008 followed by his big win against Darchinyan. Perez (19-0, 14 KOs), 30, of Colombia, scored a 12th-round knockout of veteran contender and two-time title challenger Silence Mabuza in his native South Africa on May 29 to become Agbeko's mandatory challenger. "He went to South Africa, fought a hell of a fighter in a hell of a fight and did what he had to do to win when everything was against him," Shaw said. Mexico's DeMarco (22-1-1, 16 KOs), 23, will risk his mandatory status against Alfaro. DeMarco earned a shot at beltholder Edwin Valero with a ninth-round knockout of Anges Adjaho on Showtime on July 11, but Valero can take an optional defense before he has to face DeMarco. Nicaragua's Alfaro (23-4, 20 KOs), 25, held a slice of the lightweight title for five months before losing it via third-round knockout to Yusuke Kobori in Japan in May 2008. Alfaro has won three in a row since.