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Boxing News of Sunday, 30 September 2007

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Agbeko is IBF Champion!

Sacramento, CA - Sept. 29th, 2007. In the co-feature championship bout to Dawson/Mendoza between IBF Bantamweight titlist Luis "El Demoledor" Perez and Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko the action was plentiful from bell one as the challenger Agbeko from Ghana showed why Ghanaian fighters are some of the toughest the world has ever seen.

Knowing full well the Champion had trouble making weight (Perez missed by a half pound and had to run it off) "King Kong" went to the body early and often. A series of straight rights followed by a left hook rocked Perez but he came right back and both men traded all around the ring. Agbeko seemed to get the better of the action through out however showing superior defense and a better jab.

There were no knockdowns, but, before the start of the eighth round, ringside physician Smith Ketchum, in his second visit to Pérez's corner, looked into the ex-champion's eyes with a flashlight and decided he could no longer continue.

"He was neurologically deteriorating from multiple head blows," Ketchum said.

The stoppage drew an immediate protest from the ex-champion, but he was taken to a local hospital for observation.

"It was my destiny to become world champion, and he wasn't going to stop me from my dream," said an ecstatic Agbeko, who entered the ring as the IBF's No. 15 contender and won every round on the judges' scorecards.

Pérez's manager, Kendrick Garcia, said he will ask for a rematch. If so, his fighter, who was making his first title defense, might want to do a better job monitoring his training habits.

Pérez came close to forfeiting the title twice on the scales. At Friday's weigh-in, he came in a half-pound over the 118-pound limit. Seventy-five minutes later, after a long jog, he finally made the weight as Agbeko, 116 3/4, stood smiling nearby.

Under IBF rules, boxers in Pérez's weight class can't be more than 10 pounds over 118 the day of the fight. Pérez, though, was over a fraction over 118 pounds again at a Saturday morning weigh-in and had to take that excess off as well.

The ordeal might have taken its toll. By the second round, a backpedaling Pérez already appeared to be tiring against the aggressive Agbeko.

Meanwhile, King said that despite a smaller crowd than he had envisioned, he plans to return to Sacramento for more shows.

"It isn't a question of if I'm coming back. I am," he said. "

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