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Don King back in Las Vegas

IBF bantamweight champion Joseph King Kong Agbeko will face undefeated #1 ranked mandatory challenger Yohnny “El Colombiano” Perez on Halloween, Saturday, Oct. 31, in the first boxing match ever at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Also, WBC #1 lightweight Antonio “Tony” DeMarco will face former WBA lightweight champion Jose Alfaro in the co-feature, which is a WBC final elimination bout. Both fights are scheduled for 12 rounds and will be televised live on SHOWTIME beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast). This marks Don King Productions’ first Las Vegas event as the lead promoter since Felix “Tito” Trinidad vs. Winky Wright on May 14, 2005. King is delighted to be working with fellow pioneer, maverick and trailblazer Phil Ruffin, the new owner of the Las Vegas strip icon Treasure Island.

“From Foreman and Ali at the Rumble in the Jungle, to Ali and Frazier at the Thrilla in Manila, to the Halloween Thrilla that will unleash King Kong—the eighth wonder of the world—at the T.I., this is going to be super sensational,” King said. “I love what Phil Ruffin is doing at Treasure Island, and I can’t say enough about Ghana’s favorite son Joseph King Kong Agbeko, who is following in the footsteps of his country’s greatest world champion boxers like Ike Quartey and Azumah Nelson.”

Ruffin recently purchased Treasure Island from MGM Mirage and will make a statement by presenting professional prizefighting for the first time in the T.I.’s history.

“I have admired Don King’s work in Las Vegas and around the world for years,” Ruffin said, “and I want Treasure Island’s first boxing event to be the best it can be, and that is why I sought out Don.”

The fictional King Kong and King Kong the boxer have two things in common: Both wreak havoc wherever they go. Agbeko (27-1, 22 KOs), from Accra, Ghana, now fighting out of Bronx, N.Y., has stopped just short of tearing down buildings after decimating his foes inside the ring.

The feared four-time world champion Vic Darchinyan, known not kindly as “The Raging Bull,” huffed and puffed about what he was going to do to Agbeko before squaring off against him at Bank Atlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., on July 11 in one of the year’s most anticipated showdowns.

The Aussie powerhouse unloaded his arsenal to no avail against Agbeko, who punished the two-division champion, winning a unanimous but too-closely-scored decision tallied at 116-111 and 114-113, twice.

This career-defining win, his second title defense, catapulted Agbeko into both the top echelon of current world champions and among the greatest Ghanaian boxers of all time including Ike “Bazooka” Quartey and Azumah Nelson.

Perez (19-0, 14 KOs), from Colombia now fighting out of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., made the best of an elimination bout against Silence Mabuza in his last match on May 29 in Mabuza’s native South Africa.

Behind on all three scorecards going into the final round, Perez did what he had to do to win. After knocking down Mabuza midway through the 12th round, Mabuza mustered the energy to make it to his feet before Perez forced referee Kenny Chevalier to dramatically halt the contest resulting in a technical knockout victory for Perez.

Now the IBF’s top-ranked challenger, Perez will have the chance to score another upset against Agbeko, a fighter boxing fans and aficionados are buzzing about.

No Don King card would be complete without heavyweights, so a special WBC elimination bout will feature WBC No. 3-ranked contender Ray “The Rainman” Austin (27-4-4, 17 KOs), from Cleveland, against former top-ranked heavyweight DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson (26-5, 22 KOs), from Denver. The USNBC heavyweight title will also be on the line in this match.

The co-feature pits rising star DeMarco (22-1-1, 16 KOs), from Tijuana, Mexico, against the hard-punching former world champion Alfaro (23-4, 20 KOs), from Nagarote, Nicaragua.

Since suffering the sole loss of his career in 2006 against Anthony Vasquez, a majority decision in a six-rounder, DeMarco, 23, has not lost in 15 straight contests. In his last appearance, on July 11 at BankAtlantic Center in Sunrise, Fla., DeMarco received one of the toughest challenges of his career opposing Anges Adjaho to determine the WBC’s No. 1 contender at the 135-pound limit.

Adjaho started strong, yet it was DeMarco who finished stronger with middle-round flurries that sapped Adjaho’s stamina, culminating in a ninth-round technical knockout.

Alfaro, 25, is another in a long line of tough-as-nails fighters from the impoverished nation of Nicaragua.

After losing two close, back-to-back decisions in 2006, Alfaro scored five knockout victories in succession, setting up a shot at the vacant WBA lightweight championship against Prawet Singwancha in Germany on Dec. 29, 2007. Alfaro made the most of his opportunity, winning a split decision to become lightweight world champion.

After losing his title to Yusuke Kobori in Tokyo on May 19, 2008, Alfaro has won his last three bouts.

Two exciting and undefeated fighters will be featured on the undercard. Highly touted welterweight James “The King” De La Rosa (19-0, 12 KOs), a Mexican fighting out of San Benito, Texas, and freedom-fighting lightweight Angelo “La Cobra” Santana (6-0, 4 KOs), from Cuba now fighting out of Miami, will both be appearing against opponents to be named.

King believes this Halloween promotion with Ruffin at Treasure Island harkens back to his beginnings in boxing where he helped to build Las Vegas into the international tourism destination it is today. King was honored in Las Vegas last year by being inducted into the prestigious Gaming Hall of Fame.

“I started with Cliff Pearlman at Caesars Palace; went on to work with Kirk Kerkorian at MGM; met up with John Fitzgerald, Henry Lewin and John Giovenco at the Las Vegas Hilton; returned to Caesars and Las Vegas Hilton with Arthur Goldberg, who partnered us with Mike Ensign and Tony Alamo at Mandalay Bay; and now I’m starting fresh yet again with another Las Vegas visionary in Phil Ruffin.”

Don King Productions and Treasure Island will present the event. Agbeko vs. Perez and DeMarco vs. Alfaro are presented in association with Gary Shaw Productions.




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