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Joseph Agbeko – Profile



JOSEPH KING KONG AGBEKO
Age: 33 (3-22-80 – Joseph said this is his correct date of birth; Fight Fax has 3-22-77)
Residence: Accra, Ghana
Birthplace: Accra, Ghana
Record: 29-4, 22 KOs
Height: 5’5.5”
Reach: 65.5”
Stance: Righthanded
Manager: Frank Espinoza
Trainer: Roger Mayweather

JOSEPH KING KONG AGBEKO (29-4, 22 KOs)…
• Ranked IBF #11, WBC #24 at 118 pounds; WBO #10 at 122 pounds…
• World championship fights: 4-3, 1 KO…
• Former two-time IBF bantamweight world champion, two successful defenses…
• Former British Commonwealth bantamweight champion…
• Former African bantamweight champion, one successful defense…
• Former Ghanian bantamweight champion…

At the age of 33, Joseph is a 15-year pro. A former two-time IBF bantamweight world champion, he first
won the title in September, 2007, and made two successful defenses before losing the title in October,
2009. He won the title for the second time in December, 2010, but lost it in his first defense in August,
2011.

Joseph recently signed with manager Frank Espinoza, who also manages Abner Mares, Daniel
Ponce de Leon, Diego Magdaleno, Vic Darchinyan, and others.

A career-long bantamweight, he is moving up to the super bantamweight division in this fight.
He returned to the ring in March, 2013, for the first time in 15 months, and won a 12-round decision
against Luis Melendez in Accra, Ghana.

In his last fight in the U.S., Joseph lost a 12-round unanimous decision in the rematch against Abner
Mares.

After the fight, Dan Rafael wrote on ESPN.com [excerpts]: In the final of Showtime’s four-man
bantamweight tournament on Aug. 13 in Las Vegas, Mares won a majority decision against Agbeko to
claim his title. However, it was one of the most controversial decisions of the year, but not because of the
judges. It was because of referee Russell Mora, who had a horrible night that probably cost Agbeko his
belt. He awarded Mares a questionable first-round knockdown and allowed him to get away with numerous
low blows without penalizing any points, including a blatant punch to groin in the 11th round that floored
Agbeko. Rather than taking a point for the foul, Mora called a knockdown. Mora did such a poor job that the
IBF ordered an immediate rematch.

So they met again, this time in California…. Mares and Agbeko turned in another exciting and fastpaced
fight. In the second round, Agbeko landed a left hand that opened a nasty cut over Mares’ right eye.
Cutman Miguel Diaz did an admirable job to contain the bleeding from the deep cut so it did not have a
major impact in the fight even if it looked pretty bad.

Mares did a good job of beating Agbeko to the punch often enough and seemed to be a bit quicker and
stronger…. [End Rafael item]

Joseph said, “My style, I call it ‘the slick one’ because I have different styles. I can box, I can fight, I can
move, whatever. I don’t think I have one style.”

Regarding his name and date of birth, he said, “My name is Joseph King Kong Agbeko. It’s not a
nickname, that’s my real name. It’s on my birth certificate and my passport.

“My date of birth is March 22, 1980. They made a mistake from the beginning. I didn’t make my
passport by myself. It was made by the Ghana boxing authority. They made a mistake and made my
passport with the wrong year.”

Key Fights – 2013 – in his last fight on 3-22-13 in Accra, GH, he won a 12 round unanimous decision
against Luis Melendez (34-8-1): the bout headlined at the Sports Stadium, and it was fast-paced and
exciting; Melendez pressed forward and had several rallies, but Joseph boxed and moved well, scored with
accurate counterpunches, and consistently landed the harder punches; Joseph scored 117-111, 117-113,
119-111…

2011 – IBF B WORLD TITLE CHALLENGE – on 12-3-11 in Anaheim, CA, he lost a 12 round unanimous
decision in the rematch against defending champion Abner Mares (22-0-1): the bout headlined at the
Honda Center, and it was a good, close fight; Joseph gave a strong effort and almost every round was
close, but Mares had the edge in most of them; Mares was cut badly over his right eye in the 2nd round, and
after six rounds, led by scores of 58-56 on all three scorecards; Mares finished the fight strongly – he swept
rounds 7 through 12 on all three scorecards; many observers thought the fight was closer than the scores
indicated – 118-110 on all three scorecards…

LOST IBF B WORLD TITLE – on 8-13-11 in Las Vegas, NV, he lost a 12 round majority decision against
Abner Mares (21-0-1): the fight headlined at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino – it was fast-paced and
exciting, but was ruined by the referee’s terrible performance; Mares started fast – he was credited with a
knockdown late in the 1st round, but video replays showed that it was really more of a slip – and generally
outworked Joseph in the early rounds; Mares was cut over his left eye by a clash of heads in the 6th, and
after six rounds, led by scores of 58-55, 58-55, 57-56; Joseph rallied in the second half of the fight – he
won the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th rounds on two scorecards and appeared to be winning the 11th round as well,
but Mares was credited with another knockdown – replays showed that the punch landed directly on
Joseph’s protective cup – and the referee’s missed call changed a 10-9 round for Joseph into a 10-8 round
for Mares, a three-point swing; Joseph came back and won the 12th round on two scorecards, but lost by
scores of 115-111, 115-111, 113-113; after the fight, Joseph said, “This is not the way to win a world title.
The referee’s job is to make sure it is a fair fight, not steal the title for one fighter. In the first round I missed
a punch and slipped into the ropes – I missed my step and went off balance and I fell. It was not a
knockdown. In the 11th round, I got a serious low blow. It caused serious damage. I didn’t even want to
continue with the fight because it hurt so much, but the referee was going to count me out. So I had to get
up because I did not want to lose, and I wanted the fight to continue for the fans. I was getting a lot of low
blows, and the referee was not doing anything about it. The punches were low, they were below my belt
line. The punch wasn’t a mistake. It was intentional. The referee saw what happened with his naked eye.
He cheated me. Mares has to fight me again, because this was not the way to become a champion, no
way. If he fights me again, that will prove that he has the heart to be a real champion.”…

2010 – WON IBF B WORLD TITLE – on 12-11-10 in Tacoma, WA, he won a 12 round unanimous decision
in the rematch against previously undefeated defending champion Yonnhy Perez (20-0-1): the bout
headlined at the Emerald Queen Casino, and it was a good fight; Perez pressed forward and gave a strong
effort, but Joseph boxed and moved more than in their first fight and the momentum shifted back and forth;
Joseph dominated the first half of the fight; he swept the 1st round on all three scorecards, won the 2nd and
3rd on two scorecards – and Perez was cut over his left eye – then swept the 4th and 5th rounds; Perez rallied
in the 6th round – he stepped up his pace, landed several right hands, and swept the round, then came
back and swept the 9th and 10th; but Joseph finished the fight strongly – he swept the 11th and 12th rounds,
and won by scores of 116-112, 117-111, 115-113…

2009 – LOST IBF B WORLD TITLE – on 10-31-09 in Las Vegas he lost a 12 round unanimous decision
against Yonnhy Perez (19-0): the fight headlined at Treasure Island Casino – both gave tremendous
efforts, and it was fast-paced and exciting from the first bell to the last; Perez started fast – he pressed
forward from the opening bell, generally outworked Joseph and built a lead on the scorecards – after six
rounds, Perez led by scores of 59-55, 59-55, 58-56; Joseph had several rallies, but Perez still had the edge
on the scorecards in most of the rounds; there were also several accidental head clashes – Perez was cut
over his left eye by one in the 6th round, and was butted again in the 7th; Perez was credited with a
knockdown in the 10th round, but video replays showed that a clash of heads did most of the damage
before Perez followed it with a right hand; Perez finished the fight strongly – he swept the 11th round on all
three scorecards then won the 12th on two, and won by scores 117-110, 117-110, 116-111; after the fight,
Joseph said, “He headbutted me in round 10. I don’t think that was fair. The replay clearly shows what
happened. I was fighting well to that point. I thought I was winning the fight. Perez seemed energized after
being awarded the knockdown and I was never the same after his head hit mine. We will never know what
would have happened had there not been a head butt.”…

2ND IBF B WORLD TITLE DEFENSE – on 7-11-09 in Sunrise, FL, he won a 12 round unanimous decision
against lefthanded WBC-WBA-IBF super flyweight world champion Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1): the fight
headlined at the BankAtlantic Center and the early rounds were close – both landed hard punches, but
Joseph’s were clearly more effective; Darchinyan appeared to be looking for one big knockout punch and
lunged forward repeatedly, but Joseph turned the fight into a gruelling war of attrition; Darchinyan was cut
over his left eye in the 2nd round and his nose and mouth were bloodied late in the 5th and after six rounds,
Joseph led by scores of 58-56 on all three scorecards; Darchinyan scored a knockdown in the 7th round,
but video replays showed that it was actually from a cuffing left hand behind the neck – not a clean punch –
and the timekeeper let the round continue for four minutes, as well; Joseph kept Darchinyan off-balance
with good upper-body movement, consistently landed hard lead right hands and dominated most of the
second half of the fight – he swept the 8th round on all three scorecards, won the 9th and 10th on two
scorecards, swept the 11th round and won the 12th on two scorcards; the fight appeared more one-sided
than the scores indicated – 116-111, 114-113, 114-113; after the fight, Joseph said, “He pushed me in the
seventh round and throughout the fight. He is very dirty and rough in the ring. I was fighting two people in
the ring – Darchinyan and the referee. But I didn’t care if there were five people in the ring tonight, I was
going in to win and come back out with my championship belt. Darchinyan talked a lot before the fight and I
turned him into ‘The Raging Bullshitter’ like I said I would. I’m still the champion, not the chimpanzee he
said I was. I have always said I would carry the greatness of Ghana with me to the top, and that’s what I
have done. I want to be considered among the top pound for pound fighters in the world. I think I have
earned it.”…

2008 – 1ST IBF B WORLD TITLE DEFENSE – on 12-11-08 in Newark, NJ, he won a 12 round majority
decision against lefthanded former Nicaraguan bantamweight champion William Gonzalez (21-2): the fight
was co-featured with the Tomasz Adamek-Steve Cunningham main event, and it was a fast-paced, exciting
battle; Gonzalez was cut over his left eye by a clash of heads in the 1st round and cut under his right eye
later in the fight; the early rounds were close and after six rounds, the judges scored 58-56 Agbeko, 58-56
Gonzalez, 57-57; but Joseph landed the harder punches, wore down Gonzalez, and rallied in the second
half of the fight; Joseph finished the fight very strongly – he swept the 11th and 12th rounds on all three
scorecards, and won by scores of 116-112, 116-112, 114-114; after the fight, Joseph said, “I think I
deserved a unanimous decision. Gonzalez gave me good competition, but I think I clearly beat him. He was
a tough guy, but he had never been in the ring with King Kong, the little man with the big punches.”…

2007 – WON IBF B WORLD TITLE – on 9-29-07 in Sacramento, CA, he won by TKO (7th round) against
lefthanded defending champion Luis Perez (25-1): the bout was co-featured with the Chad Dawson-
Epifanio Mendoza main event; Perez gave a good effort and it was an exciting fight, but Joseph dominated;
he consistently landed the harder punches, steadily wore down Perez, and rocked him several times; the
referee stopped the fight at the end of the 7th round; after seven rounds, Joseph led by shutout scores of
70-63 on all three scorecards; after the fight, Joseph said, “I am the man. I believed I could be a world
champion, and no one was going to stop me from my dream. I think I can do more than what I did. You got
to fight the best to be the best. I’ve seen Luis Perez’ fights, and I knew he was going to throw his big shots
early. I gave it back to him tonight. I dominated him. If the referee didn’t stop it, I would have stopped
him.”…

On 8-9-07 in Las Vegas, NV, he won by TKO (4th round) against Fidencio Reyes (10-4-1): the fight was on
the undercard of the Tye Fields-Domonic Jenkins, Joshua Clottey-Felix Flores co-featured bouts at the
Hard Rock; Joseph dominated the fight and stopped Reyes at 1:23 of the 4th round…

On 3-24-07 in Accra, GH, he won by TKO (4th round) against Baba Nzor (0-1)…

2004 – WON VACANT BRITISH COMMONWEALTH B TITLE – on 10-29-04 in Accra, GH, he won a 12
round unanimous decision against Sumaila Badu (3-2): scored 120-106, 120-107, 120-107…
On 5-18-04 in Luebeck, GER, he lost a 12 round majority decision against German-based Ukranian and
2000 Olympic bronze medalist Wladimir Sidorenko (14-0): the bout was co-featured at Hanse Halle, and it
was a good, close fight; scored 117-111, 116-114, 114-114; Sidorenko went on to win the WBA
bantamweight world title in 2005 and made six successful title defenses…

2003 – on 6-13-03 in Accra he won by TKO (6th round) against Cedric Conway (15-3)…

2002 – on 10-4-02 in Accra he won by TKO (4th round, 1:02) against Charlie Agbotomey (debut)…

On 5-10-02 in Millwall, ENG, he won by TKO (6th round) against Sabin Bornei (1-0): the fight headlined at
the Britannia Hotel, and Joseph dominated – he scored a knockdown with a right hand when Bornei was
held up by the ropes in the 2nd round, and staggered Bornei with another right hand in the 5th; Joseph
rocked Bornei with a series of punches in the 6th round, and the referee stopped the fight at 1:30; Bornei’s
face was bruised and swollen, and he was cut over and under his left eye…

2001 – on 9-8-01 in Accra he won by TKO (2nd round) against Ugandan Michael Kizza (14-1)…

On 7-27-01 in Accra he won by TKO (2nd round) against Fosting Rostand (0-1)…

On 6-4-01 in Accra he won by knockout (2nd round) against Ganiyu Olumifihon (debut)…

On 5-4-01 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, he won by knockout (2nd round) against Moses Kennedy (debut)…

On 3-24-01 in Bouake, NIG, he won by knockout (4th round) against Mike Orlando (debut)…

On 3-20-01 in Abidjan he won by knockout (2nd round) against Chris Bandel (debut)…

2000 – 1ST AFRICAN B TITLE DEFENSE – on 11-14-00 in Brakpan, SA, he won a 12 round unanimous
decision against previously undefeated local favorite Johannes Maisa (15-0): the fight headlined at the
Carnival City Arena, and it was an exciting battle; the early rounds were close – both fighters kept very fast
paces, neither took a backwards step, and the momentum shifted back and forth; but Joseph rallied in the
second half of the fight, finished strongly in the late rounds, and won by scores 118-112, 117-112, 117-
114…

On 10-7-00 in Cotonou, Benin, he won by knockout (1st round) against Arouma Yessoufou (debut)…

On 8-29-00 in Cotonou he won by knockout (2nd round) against Lawrence Zakpo (0-3)…

WON AFRICAN B TITLE – on 5-5-00 in Kaneshie, GH, he won by knockout (2nd round, 0:52) against Ola
Balougon (debut)…

1999 – WON GHANIAN B TITLE – on 7-30-99 in Accra he won by knockout (1st round) against Malik Jabir
(debut)…

He debuted at the age of 21 on 12-16-98…

AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Joseph said, “I was born in Ghana – Accra. I’m from the Volta
region. I’m from the Ewe tribe. I have two brothers and three sisters, and uncles and aunties all over. My
mom and dad have retired.

“I used to go to Bukom, but I don’t live there. I used to live in a place close to Bukom. They call it
Gbese.

“I started boxing when I was 11, 12 years. I think my name pushed me into boxing, King Kong. It’s
like I’m young and people, they call me King Kong, so everybody scared of me. If I’m in school and they
beat up my friends, then they will come and call me to go and fight for them. If I come go and fight for them,
because of my name, they don’t want to throw their hands and then I will just slap them and then I win the
fight. That’s what got me into boxing. Everybody’s afraid of me then.

“I fought almost 60 fights in the amateur. I haven’t lost in Ghana. I’ve lost like, four fights. I fought in
the African Zone 3 tournament twice – I won gold and silver. Then I fought in the All Africa Championships
and I won bronze. I went to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. I lost my first fight.”…

AMATEUR HIGHLIGHTS:
1998 COMMONWEALTH GAMES – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 105 pounds: in the quarterfinals (his
first fight) on 9-16-98 he lost a 12-7 decision against Gary Jones of England…

STRENGTHS: Has good skills and movement…has good punching power…tough and physically strong…at
his best, he keeps his opponents off-balance with upper-body movement, fights at a fast pace, and steadily
wears them down…can switch effectively to the lefthanded stance…is experienced against very good
opposition…had a strong amateur background…

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: 15 years…34 fights…199 total rounds…79 world championship rounds…

AVERAGE LENGTH OF BOUTS: 6 rounds…

KNOCKOUT PERCENTAGE: 75 %…

DISTANCE FIGHTS: 12 rounds – 10 (6-3)…10 rounds – 0…8 rounds – 1 (1-0)…