Former International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion, Joseph King Kong Agbeko, will mount the ring next month in Accra in a title fight against Filipino Ray Las Pinas as the Ghanaian begins a journey towards reclaiming his place as a world champion. Pinas is a highly-respected fighter with a ring record of 17 wins (11 Kos), four draws and six losses.
Although the fight date is yet to be confirmed, it will be the first time the two-time world champion will be fighting in Ghana since his fourth round knockout over Baba Nsor at the Azumah Nelson Sports Complex on March 23, 2007. It will also be Agbeko’s first fight since his unsuccessful bid to reclaim the IBF and WBC Silver Bantamweight titles from Abner Mares on December 3, 2011.
In a determined bid to reclaim the world title after two successive losses to Mares, Agbeko told the Graphic Sports in an exclusive interview that he wants to use next month’s fight in Accra for the IBF Inter-Continental and WBA Inter-Continental super-bantamweight titles as a launching pad to greater things in the sport and hopefully get another crack at Mares’ world title.
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Beyond next month’s fight at the Accra Sports Stadium, the former world champion is eyeing a shot at a world title at the super-bantamweight class, and hopefully put his best foot forward to have a third shot at Mares.
“I still have a score to settle. I still want to fight Abner Mares to prove a point because I fought him twice when I had a lot of issues in my camp, but this time I’m going into a better promotions camp and I’ll be better prepared,” said Agbeko who holds a ring record of 28-2 (22 KO).
For the boxer, fighting before his home fans would help him win back their confidence after letting Ghanaians down with the loss of his world title.
“I owe Ghanaians a fight here because they’ve lost some hope in me and I want to bring back the lost confidence and then put myself in a position to get a world title fight against a high-profile fighter,” said Agbeko who revealed he had been training here in Accra and was in good shape for his comeback fight which is being put together by Ebenezer Noye for Fresh King Kong Entertainment owned by the boxer.
Although Agbeko claims his last loss to Mares did not affect his self-confidence but rather drained him emotionally, he is nonetheless challenging himself to return to his once dreaded form which made him one of the most feared bantamweights.
“I want to prove myself that I’m the best out there. This time the super bantamweight division is my natural weight and I’m challenging myself to be a world champion again by 2013.”
Story: Maurice Quansah