DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla.—International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko has boldly predicted he will score a knockout victory over undefeated IBF No. 1-ranked mandatory challenger Yonnhy “El Colombiano” Perez when they meet in Don King’s Halloween Thrilla at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 31. (SHOWTIME 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on West Coast)
“I think I will defeat Yonnhy Perez by knockout,” Agbeko said from his South Florida-based training camp. “I’m not underestimating him. He’s a good fighter, but I know this is going to be a knockout for me.
“Perez should keep his confidence as an undefeated fighter and bring it to the ring. I want to face him at his best. After our fight, he will feel the same way I did after I suffered my only loss, except mine was a robbery; his will be real.”
Agbeko (27-1, 22 KOs), from Accra, Ghana, now fighting out of Bronx, N.Y., has been nothing short of sensational. He burst onto the world stage by defeating then-IBF 118-pound champion Luis “El Demoledor” Perez, from Managua, Nicaragua, when they met in Sacramento, Calif., in 2007.
Perez was riding a 10-fight winning streak, had not lost since 2000 and had been a world champion for nearly five years. Agbeko unloaded so many pin-point head shots, the ringside physician halted the contest in the seventh round, and Perez went to the hospital after the fight due to pain from body shots.
But it was Agbeko’s career-defining performance in his last fight—against a fighter in Vic Darchinyan that can usually back up his big talk outside the ring at fight time. Darchinyan threw everything he had at Agbeko, and, in a bizarre seventh round, the timekeeper even allowed an extra minute of fight time where Darchinyan was credited with a knockdown in what replays showed was an obvious push.
Unphased, Agbeko battered Darchinyan and scored a unanimous decision that moved him into the pantheon of best Ghanaian boxers of all time among greats like Azumah Nelson and Ike “Bazooka” Quartey.