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Boxing News of Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Source: Graphic Sports

Agbeko joins Mayweather camp

Former IBO Bantamweight Champion, Joseph King Kong Agbeko, is confident that joining the camp of famed Mayweather family can be the missing piece in his jigsaw to ensure a career turnaround as he prepares to face tough Cuban Guillermo Rigondeaux Ortiz in a world championship bout on December 7 in the United States.

The two-time world champion, who recently signed a promotional deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions after severing ties with legendary Don King, believes that having an experienced hand like Roger Mayweather in his corner is the best thing to happen to him ahead of what he calls “the toughest fight of my career.”

Agbeko is positive he has found the best possible trainer in Mayweather - a former world champion in two weight classes and an uncle of five-time champion Floyd Mayweather – who is putting the Ghanaian through his paces at Mayweather’s Las Vegas gym.

After signing a new managerial contract with the famed Frank Espinosa, who secured him the services of Mayweather, Agbeko promised to return to the ring meaner and tougher to face undefeated Ortiz who puts his WBA and WBO super bantamweight titles at stake at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City in New Jersey.

“This fight is the big fight. It is the toughest of my career so I need an experienced trainer who can train me well as I am moving up weight to face the toughest fighter in the division,” Agbeko told Graphic Sports in a telephone interview from his Las Vegas base last Friday.

“Everybody knows Roger to be one of the best trainers. He’s from a great boxing family and he knows how to motivate boxers and get the best out of them.”

For a fighter who will be making only his second ring appearance in two years and nine months after defeating Colombian Luiz Melendez in a not-so-impressive victory in Accra, Agbeko acknowledges he has to shake off his ring rust and rediscover his arsenal which made him one of the most feared bantamweights when he held the IBF title on two occasions before losing it to Abner Mares in August 2011.

“For some time, I’ve lost my combinations so I need someone to bring them back. Roger Mayweather is improving my skills and hand speed, so I’ll be ready, meaner and tougher,” said Agbeko who relocated to the US three months ago.

Even though the Cuban comes into the December 7 fight with a modest ring record of 12 wins in 12 fights (including eight knockouts), he commands a lot of respect in boxing circles, not least Agbeko [32-29 (22KOs)-4] who acknowledges he would be, perhaps, his toughest customer in his 12-year professional career. “My opponent is one fighter everybody is avoiding. It’s a big risk I’ve taken but I have what it takes to beat him and I’ll be battle ready for him.”