Joseph Agbeko said Thursday that his sore back is feeling better and he expects to be back in the ring in June or July, boxingtalk.com reported. The IBF bantamweight titleholder also said he's been assured by Showtime that his fight against Abner Mareswill be rescheduled.
Agbeko collapsed as a result of sciatica just days before his scheduled collision with Mares in the finals of Showtime's four-man bantamweight tournament, which also included Vic Darchinyanand Yonnhy Perez.
"I'm feeling much, much better, and I'm going to be back in the gym very soon," Agbeko told the Web site. "The doctor said just take the shots, then get back in the gym. I'm responding to the treatment quickly, so I'll be fine soon."
Agbeko said the Mares fight remains at the top of his to-do list, and he believes his opponent has the same priority.
"I don't have any date from Showtime, but it's going to be against Abner Mares," he said of his next fight. "It's going to be a big fight. I know he is a hungry boxer, and I'm working very hard. I know it's going to be one of my toughest fights."
Agbeko said a victory over Mares would establish him — not Nonito Donaire– as the No. 1 fighter at bantamweight.
"Donaire is not the king of the division," he said. "The king of the division will be determined between Abner Mares and I. (Donaire) was given the chance to be in this tournament to prove who is the best boxer, but he wasn't interested.
"If Donaire wants to fight, I'll fight him," Agbeko added. "If Nonito Donaire wants to be the best, (he'll) have to fight to prove it."
Dennis Taylor is editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com and co-host of The Ringside Boxing Show