Mares, Ag­beko win ban­tamweight semi­fi­nal bouts

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

TA­COMA, WASH: Ab­ner Mares won a split de­ci­sion and Joseph Ag­beko was a unan­i­mous win­ner Satur­day night in the semi­fi­nals of the Ban­tamweight Tour­na­ment.

Ag­beko (28-2) beat Yonnhy Perez (20-2-1), re­ceiv­ing win­ning scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 115-111 from the judges at the Emer­ald Queen Casino.

Mares (21-0-1) edged Vic Darchinyan (35-3-1) in the event that fea­tured four of the world's top 118-pound fight­ers. Two judges scored it 115111 and 113-112 for Mares, and the other had it 115-111 for Darchinyan.

Mares and Darchinyan each had one knock­down. Darchinyan opened a cut on Mares' left hair­line in the first round that bled through­out the 12-round bout.

Mares and Ag­beko will meet in the cham­pi­onship round next spring.

Af­ter a slow start, the 25year-old Mares ralled af­ter Darchinyan dom­i­nated the first few rounds in the open­ing fight with a strong left. Mares won de­spite los­ing a point in the fourth round for his sec­ond low blow af­ter a warn­ing from the ref­eree.

That penalty seemed to ig­nite Mares, and he had Darchinyan up against the ropes in the fifth and knocked him down with a left in the sev­enth.

"Our plan was to push him back be­cause we know he likes to bully peo­ple," Mares said. "He has a tremen­dous punch. I proved that I could take punches. I kept push­ing him back. I heard him moan ev­ery time I landed a body shot."

Mares, a pop­u­lar fighter in his na­tive Mex­ico, jumped on the ropes in each corner and waved to the crowd even be­fore his win was an­nounced.

"I ob­vi­ously knew it was go­ing to be a split de­ci­sion be­cause I close rounds like I al­ways do," Mares said. "It was a hard fight, my hard­est fight ever."

The Ar­me­nia-born Darchinyan knocked down Mares with a left in the sec­ond round. But the 34-year-old for­mer two-di­vi­sion cham­pion seemed to tire in the later rounds.

" It's very disgusting," Darchinyan said about the de­ci­sion. "I think, of course, I won. By three to four rounds, I was in front."

Darchinyan is con­sid­ered among the heav­i­est punch­ers in the 118-pound di­vi­sion.

"I wanted to stop him by up­per­cut, by hook," Darchinyan said.

Darchinyan, who fights out of Aus­tralia, lost for the first time in four fights since los­ing by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to Ag­beko in July 2009.

"He is a tough kid, fool­ing me, push­ing me," Darchinyan said.

The tour­na­ment orig­i­nally was sched­uled for Leon, Mex­ico, but Show­time did a site sur­vey and re­al­ized that the cost for stag­ing the event there - in­clud­ing se­cu­rity in a re­gion that has been be­sieged by vi­o­lence among the drug car­tels - would be pro­hib­i­tive. When no venue could be se­cured in Los An­ge­les, the event was moved to Ta­coma.

In the sec­ond bout of the night, the 30-year-old Ag­beko re­turned to the ring for the first time since los­ing a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion to Perez in Oc­to­ber 2009 in Las Ve­gas. -PB News

HONG KONG: Rid­ers com­pete at the Dublin Hand­i­cap race dur­ing the Cathay Pa­cific In­ter­na­tional Races at the Sha Tin Race­course on De­cem­ber 12, 2010 in Hong Kong. -Afp

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