Weekend Fight Recap

July 15, 2009

This past weekend was filled with exciting world-title fight action in multiple weight classes. Here's a quick recap of those recent matchups:

Joseph Agbeko Defeats Vic Darchinyan

Ghanaian Joseph King Kong Agbeko retained his International Boxing Federation bantamweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Armenia's Vic Darchinyan on Saturday in Sunrise, Florida. In successfully defending his 118-pound belt for the second time, Agbeko denied Darchinyan's bid at capturing a world title in a third division.

The official judges final scores of 114-113, 114-113, and 116-111 were made closer than necessary after referee Tommy Kimmons incorrectly scored a push by Darchinyan as a scoring knockdown in the seventh round. Television replays confirmed conclusively that Darchinyan pushed his opponent.

Darchinyan had brief moments of success landing big left hooks to the champion's head, but Agbeko never appeared seriously hurt. Even after the disputed knockdown, Agbeko maintained his composure and fought his fight.

For King Kong Agbeko (King Kong is actually his given middlename) the winning strategy was surprisingly easy, as he was able to halt The Raging Bull's charges throughout the night with well-placed and well-timed right hands. The effectiveness of these blows was evident, as Agbeko eventually opened up noticeable gashes above both of Darchinyan's eyes.

Agbeko's career mark improved to 27-1 with the win, while Darchinyan's career record sits at 32-2-1 following the loss.

For Darchinyan, the fight was especially disappointing, as the Australian brawler (by way of Armenia) has enjoyed increasing popularity and exposure during his recent five-fight win streak. That streak seemingly had erased the sting of his stunning one-punch KO defeat in 2007 at the hands of flyweight titlist Nonito Donaire, and had earned Darchinyan a spot on many pundits' Pound-for-Pound lists, including that of TheDailySportsHerald.

Despite this fact, the loss may prove to actually work in Darchinyan's favor, as he might have improved his chances at landing a fight at 120 pounds with the soon-to-be-off-hiatus Israel Vazquez.

For the Bronx-based Agbeko, the win should catapult him to a unification bout with either of the other two belt holders at 118 - Panamanian Anselmo Moreno or Japan's Hozumi Hasegawa.

Tomasz Adamek Beats Bobby Gunn By TKO

In a battle of two heavy-handed cruiserweights fighting out of New Jersey, the Polish-born Adamek retained his IBF title belt via a disputed fourth-round stoppage in Newark, New Jersey's Prudential Center. Although Gunn was clearly rattled by a big Adamek overhand right and a subsequent flurry of at least 15 straight unanswered punches, Gunn and his corner vehemently protested referee Earl Brown's decision to stop the fight following the fourth round.

Brown later revealed that he too believed Gunn could have continued, but was advised otherwise by the ringside physician. The physician apparently had informed Brown that a cut over Gunn's left eye would affect his vision.

Adamek improved to 38-1 with the win, while Gunn dropped to 21-4-1 following the loss.

Steve Cunningham Defeats Wayne Braithwaite By Unanimous Decision

In a matchup of former Cruiserweight champs, Philadelphia's Steve "USS" Cunningham worked behind an always solid left jab in winning a unanimous decision over Guyana's Wayne "Big Truck" Braithwaite.

In winning his first fight since losing his title to Adamek, Cunningham prevailed thanks to his stiff jab, effective body work, and a tighter, more sound defense. That revamped defense can be credited to Cunningham's new corner man Nazeem Richardson, perhaps the best trainer in the game today.

The official scores were 119-109, 118-110, and 117-111. With the win, Cunningham's record improved to 22-2, and likely put him right where he intended to be - in position for a rematch with his old foe Adamek.

Although the cruiserweight division is filled with other good fighters such as Germany's Marco Huck, Britain's Ola Afolabi, Canada's Troy Ross, Panama's Guillermo Jones, and Americans BJ Flores and Matt Godfrey, realistically Adamek's biggest fight and most logical opponent would undoubtedly involve a rematch with Cunningham.

Braithwaite dropped to a career mark of 23-4 following the loss. Braithwaite has fought only two times since losing his title to Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli in 2007.

Chris Henry Beats Shaun George By TKO In Round Six

Chris "Hard Hittin" Henry overcame a shaky first round in which he appeared to be badly hurt and on the verge of having his fight stopped, and then came back to dominate and stop Shaun George in the sixth round in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Henry improved his career mark to 24-2 with the win.

George is best known for his ninth round stoppage of former heavyweight champ Chris Byrd, and was once thought to be an emerging player at the top of the light heavyweight division. In this fight however, he looked completely listless and disinterested in engaging Henry after the first round. With the loss, George dropped to 18-3, with two draws.

Following the fight, George complained of various injuries to his hand, shoulder, and leg, and stated that he didn't feel the desire to continue to fight any longer. Whether this was just a case of a disappointed fighter letting his emotions get the best of him following a tough loss, or actually his true feelings, remains to be seen.

Houston native Henry, for his part, continued his pattern of making crowd-pleasing fights. When one considers that his only two losses were close decisions to the dangerous Yusuf Mack and to former world champion Adrian Diaconu, Henry could now have fought himself into contention for more big-name, big-money fights, and maybe even a title shot at 175.

By Kweku Turkson
Staff Reporter for TheDailySportsHerald.com

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