Agbeko in top shape for Rigondeaux fight

On Saturday when Ghana’s Joseph Agbeko mounts the ring against American opponent Guillermo Rigondeaux in New Jersey, USA, there will be more than the WBO and WBA super-bantamweight titles at stake.

Agbeko, who is rounding off his preparations in Las Vegas under the guidance of his new trainer, Roger Mayweather, said he was in his best shape in recent years for a contest which would have a far reaching effect on his career.

“This is going to be a great fight. I’m extremely motivated. I plan to make my country proud by becoming world champion again after I defeat Rigondeaux,” declared Agbeko.

Two men of very distinct backgrounds, three-time world champion Agbeko and two-time world champion Rigondeaux, have pride at stake as they seek to match words with action at the Broadwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

In April this year, Rigondeaux didn't just beat Donaire, he embarrassed him. It was a brilliant tactical performance, with a strong emphasis on defence and counter-punching, but it didn't win him many fans. He'll be looking to justify his continued investment to the HBO suits on Saturday night with a big performance.

Agbeko has won just one fight in his last three. He's been relatively inactive of late, and will be a massive underdog when he walks into the ring.

Agbeko is probably best known for his two fights with Abner Mares, the first of which was overshadowed by a ridiculously incompetent performance by referee Russell Mora. Mares frequently focused his attack below Agbeko's beltline, and not only did he not have a point taken, but he was also credited with a knockdown in the 11th round on a blatantly low punch.

Agbeko will be making his first attempt at a world championship at 122 pounds. He's a massive underdog, but he's tough, durable and can crack, so the fight has the potential for excitement.

Agbeko also probably knows this could be his last shot — age is creeping up and he's been inactive — so he has to make the best of it.

The 33-year-old Ghanaian has been in the ring with a very high level of talent throughout his career. Between 2009 and 2011, he had a dizzying stretch in which he faced Vic Darchinyan, Yohnny Perez twice and then Abner Mares twice. So he knows what it's like to be in there with a world-class fighter.

Last modified onMonday, 30 May 2016 11:37

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