Doug Fischer

Agbeko outpoints Perez, Mares outworks Darchinyan

TACOMA, Wash. — Joesph Agbeko put on a boxing clinic in his rematch with Yonnhy Perez, soundly outpointing the unbeaten Colombian pressure fighter to regain his bantamweight title in the main event of the semifinals of Showtime's 118-pound tournament on Saturday.

Agbeko (28-2, 22 knockouts), who won by scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113, outmaneuvered Perez and consistently beat the defending beltholder to the punch.

Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs) fought his usual forward-marching aggressive fight through the first nine rounds of the fight and momentarily drew Agbeko into his busy, inside style during the exciting fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

However, Agbeko resumed his stick-and-move tactics in the eighth round and by the 10th the talented Ghanaian had halted Perez's forward march. Perez was a siting duck for Agbeko's jab in the final two rounds.

With the victory, Agbeko will now face Abner Mares, who beat Vic Darchinyan in the co-featured semifinal bout, in the tournament finals that are tentatively scheduled for the month of April.

Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) overcame a bad cut, a second-round knockdown, and a third-round point deduction to outwork and narrowly outpoint Darchinyan by 12-round split decision.

Mares, who won by scores of 115-112, 113-112 and 111-115, was the aggressor throughout the fight. The 25-year-old fighter walked Darchinyan down behind a relentless body attack that took the steam out of the 34-year-old veteran in the final rounds of the bout.

However, Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs) boxed very well. The 115-pound titleholder moved and counter-punched effectively before suffering a seventh-round knockdown (which he disputes) and getting outworked by the younger man down the stretch of the sometimes ugly but generally entertaining fight.

Darchinyan will meet Perez in a consolation bout that will be the co-feature to the single-elimination tournament finals next year.

A post-fight column will be posted shortly.

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