SUNRISE, Fla. (July 11, 2009) – Joseph King Kong Agbeko retained his IBF bantamweight championship with a 12-round unanimous decision victory over two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan Saturday night on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING.
In a controversial co-feature, Antonio DeMarco knocked out Anges “Baby Face” Adjaho at 2:59 of the ninth round to become the WBC’s No. 1 ranked lightweight and the mandatory challenger to current champion Edwin Valero.
While the Agbeko-Darchinyan fight, which was a matchup of two of the pound-for-pound hardest hitting boxers in the world, didn’t disappoint, it was quite shocking. Many experts predicted the experienced four-time world champ Darchinyan would knockout the defending champion with his sweeping hooks and stiff jabs.
But Darchiyan (32-2, 26 KOs), who was fighting for the first time at 118 pounds, didn’t seem to have the power he was known for in the lower divisions. Agbeko (27-1, 22 KOs) took advantage of that from the opening round, landing powerful rights throughout the fight that opened cuts under both of Darchiynan’s eyes.
Photos from the event: (Credit to Tom Casino/Showtime)
After the disappointing loss, four-time Darchinyan is left to decide what his next career move will be. Will he move down to the 115-pound division that he dominated for the past 12 months, or will he give it another shot at 118 pounds?
Agbeko, from Accra, Ghana, now fighting out of Bronx, N.Y, capitalized on Darchinyan’s mistakes and landed the stronger punches.
“This was the biggest fight of my career,” Agbeko said. “My right hand was great tonight. It was the difference. I told everyone I was going to win, and I did. I’ve got a lot of work to do in this division.”
“I don’t want to just be a champion for one year. I want to take this to the next level. I want to be a world champion for a long time. Vic Darchinyan can’t stop me and no one else can.”
Darchiynan, of Sydney, Australia, by way of Armenia, fought a poor tactical fight and he admitted it. The Aussie Bomber had been known as a wild puncher in the early stages of his career, but after a loss to Nonito Donaire he showed polished boxing skills and tore through the 115-pound division.
“I took a different tactic,” Darchinyan said. “I went for the big punch and I paid for it. I lost. I can’t say anything.”
“I was getting upset and repeating some mistakes. It’s not an excuse. I took a bad tactic and I wasn’t’ smart tonight.”
The co-feature started slow with neither fighter able to get comfortable. DeMarco found his range around the fourth and started to go to town on Adjaho with combinations. In the ninth, DeMarco (22-1-1, 16 KOs), of Tijuana, Mexico, landed a powerful straight left that staggered Adjaho against the ropes.
Visibly hurt, Adjaho (25-2, 14 KOs), of Benin, Africa, decided to take a knee but was hit in the head by DeMarco as he went down. With Adjaho lying face-first on the canvas, referee Tellis Assemenios counted him out and the fight was called. A replay revealed that Assemenios made the correct decision that DeMarco hit Adjaho before his knee was down.
“He’s a great boxer, but I hurt him with the left,” DeMarco said. “He took the knee and I didn’t want to hit him. He just didn’t want to fight anymore.
“I think the fight was pretty fair and equal until I started landing the better punches. He was out of gas and he was getting tired. Now, I want to fight for the title.”
Adjaho disagreed with Assemenios’ call a believed it was an illegal hit.
“He hit me with a shot that cut me over my eye,”’ Adjaho said. “I decided to take a knee to collect my thoughts. After I took the knee, he hit me in the head. Watch the replay. I think I was winning the fight.
“He hit the back of my head as I was on my knee. I got hit from the back and I went down. I was winning the fight and I deserve a rematch.”
Gus Johnson called the action from ringside with Al Bernstein serving as expert analyst, Jim Gray as the ringside reporter and Jenn Brown as roving reporter. The executive producer of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is David Dinkins Jr., with Bob Dunphy directing.
Saturday’s bouts will re-air this week as follows:
Wednesday, July 15 at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT SHOWTIME TOO
AVAILABLE ON DEMAND STARTING 7/14 AND ENDING 8/10
On Monday, July 13, SHOWTIME will make a major, groundbreaking announcement involving six of the world’s best super middleweight fighters at New York City’s famed Madison Square Garden. The press conference will take place at the WaMu Theatre at Madison Square Garden at noon ET.
The following day, on Tuesday, July 14, SHOWTIME and STRIKEFORCE will host a kick-off press conference and open workout at Madison Square Garden to introduce the biggest match-up in the history of women’s MMA. The beautiful and undefeated Gina Carano and once-beaten Cris “Cyborg” Santos, two of the top female MMA fighters in the world, will battle for the first-ever STRIKEFORCE Women’s Championship Title live on SHOWTIME® at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
On Friday, July 31, once-beaten, lightweight prospect Marvin Quintero will look to continue his ascension through the ranks with a win over hard-hitting veteran Tyrone Harris in a 10 round lightweight bout. In the co-feature, undefeated bantamweight prospect Chris Avalos will take on knockout artist Andre Wilson in an eight round bantamweight bout.
The following day features a highly anticipated battle between two of the 140-pound division’s best. WBO champion Timothy Bradley will defend his title in his homecoming to the California desert against former undisputed champion Nate Campbell on Aug. 1 on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from The Show at Agua Caliente Casino • Resort • Spa in Rancho Mirage, Calif. World Boxing Council No. 1-ranked super lightweight Devon Alexander “The Great” will fight for the vacant WBC super lightweight championship against the former holder of that belt, Junior “The Hitter” Witter, in a tremendous co-feature.
Two weeks later on Saturday, Aug. 15, SHOWTIME Sports will feature the most-desired matchup in the history of women’s MMA when Carano and Santos battle for the first-ever STRIKEFORCE Women’s Championship Title live on SHOWTIME® at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports, including exclusive video, photos and news links on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and Strikeforce mixed martial arts telecasts, along with access to the SHOWTIME Sports Facebook® and Twitter® pages, please go to http://Sports.Sho.com.
About Showtime Networks Inc.
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL® XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL® HD, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL® ON DEMAND. SNI also manages Smithsonian Networks, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.