By Rocco Morales/Photo: Rocco Morales
A press conference was held today in Los Angele to announce that Joseph King Kong Agbeko will defend his IBF bantamweight world championship against undefeated rising star Abner Mares, who defends his WBC Silver bantamweight championship in the eagerly awaited finals of The Bantamweight Tournament: Winner Takes All on Saturday, April 23 LIVE on SHOWTIME® (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. In what will be a hotly contested co-feature, former two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan and former IBF bantamweight world champion Yonnhy “El Colombiano” Perez will clash in the tournament consolation bout.
Vic Darchinyan: I am a pure fighter. I was upset and pissed off after the Mares loss but my next fight I am very happy to be fighting against Yohnny Perez. I will beat him by knockout and show that I am much stronger. I am looking forward to this fight and will be in great shape. I will have no excuses and will prevail.
Oscar De La Hoya: This event goes to show you how all the different promoters can get together to put on a great show for the fans. I thank Don King, Gary Shaw, Ken Thompson and Ken Hershman from SHOWTIME who has come up with the great idea of having tournaments amongst the top fighters. Whoever wins this tournament will be known as the best of the Bantamweight of the division. The public already knows whoever wins this tournament will be ‘The Man.’
Abner Mares: First of all I want to thank God for letting me fight even after I earlier suffered a detached retina and many told me my career was over. Now I am at a special place in this tournament with three other great fighters and in the finals, thank God. I’m really excited to be here and thank the other promoters for having their fighters in this tournament and Showtime for staging the tournament.
We all know that Joseph Agbeko and I are in the finals but Darchinyan vs. Perez is a great fight in itself and should not be thought of as third place but rather as a great fight. Joseph Agbeko, however, I see as a more complete opponent than Darchinyan and I am preparing for a very tough fight. He fought a very smart fight against Perez and he fought very smart to win their rematch. I expect a tough fight from Agbeko. Even though he is always smiling outside the ring, he truly becomes King Kong inside the ring.
Joseph Agbeko: Boxing is the most beautiful sport in the world, I think. We have four bantamweights here who are all business in the ring but can be best of friends outside of the ring. Abner Mares is a great, young, determined fighter and peaking. But, I always come out as a winner and that builds my confidence. The only think I know is that on April 23rd, it is going to be winner take all, and I am going to drop Mares’ unblemished record to 21-1.
The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All, Agbeko vs. Mares and Darchinyan vs. Perez, takes place on Saturday, April 23rd at the Nokia Theater at L.A. Live in Downtown L.A. and will be broadcast live on Showtime television. Co-Promoters for the event are Don King Productions, Gary Shaw Productions, Golden Boy Promotions and Thompson Boxing. Ticket prices are $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25 and are on sale at Ticketmaster.com or at the STAPLES Center Box Office.