NEW YORK (JULY 14, 2011) – Joseph King Kong Agbeko has been cleared by his doctors and has resumed training to defend his International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight championship against undefeated rising star and World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver 118-pound titleholder Abner Mares, who will also defend his title,in The Bantamweight Tournament Final: Winner Takes All on Saturday, August 13, live on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
The world championship fight is promoted by Don King Productions and Golden Boy Promotions and is sponsored by Corona.
Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, along with a limited number of VIP suite seats priced at $150, are on sale now and may be purchased at the Hard Rock Hotel Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.Ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.
The highly anticipated 12-round world title matchup between New York-based Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) of Accra, Ghana, and Mares (21-0-1, 13 KOs) of Hawaiian Gardens, Calif., by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, was originally scheduled for April 23, but was postponed when Agbeko was injured moments after arrival at Los Angeles International Airport during fight week. Doctors at a nearby hospital diagnosed the champion with sudden onset sciatica, a back injury.
The Aug. 13 SHOWTIME Championship Boxing telecast will be Agbeko’s fourth consecutive appearance on the network and the third in a row for Mares.
“The talented and courageous men in this division have delivered some of the most memorable fights of the last decade,” said Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports. “This tournament concept has already delivered three excellent match-ups and the best is yet to come with this Final. I am proud of Joseph and Abner for staying on course to finish what they started. May the best man win.”
Agbeko, who had never previously missed a fight, was told by a Los Angeles physician to receive treatment and wait six weeks before resuming training after the April 23 postponement. When he was cleared to fly, Agbeko returned to his native Ghana to rest and subsequently returned to New York and has resumed training.
“The physical therapy treatments in Accra worked wonders and I am happy to report that my body has responded well,” Agbeko said. “I’m back in the gym and feel healthy and stronger than ever and will be ready to fight on Aug. 13.”
“I would like to thank Abner Mares and SHOWTIME for giving me time to recover from this most unfortunate of injuries. I will forever remember their great sportsmanship during my time of trouble.”
Mares welcomed the news. “I’m excited to get the fight with Agbeko rescheduled so I can finish what I started and win the bantamweight tournament. It was unfortunate that Agbeko was injured in April, but I’m happy he has recovered and we have a date set now. I want to fight the best and I know I can beat the best. I will not rest until I become the best of the best in the bantamweight division.”
Agbeko will be making his first start since recapturing the IBF crown with an impressive 12-round unanimous decision win over then-unbeaten Yonnhy Perez in the bantamweight tournament semifinal on Dec. 11, 2010, in Tacoma, Wash. Agbeko convincingly won a thrilling give-and-take battle by the scores of 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. Their exciting fight came in a rematch of a 2009 Halloween night slugfest that Perez won on points.
It will also be the first fight back for Mares since the semifinals in Tacoma, where he rallied dramatically to earn the most significant victory of his career, a 12-round split decision win over former two-division world champion Vic Darchinyan in a bloody, knockdown-laden affair. Mares recovered from a deep cut along his hairline in the opening round, the first knockdown of his career in the second round and a point-deduction in the fourth round to floor Darchinyan in the seventh round en route to a victory by scores of 115-111, 113-112 and 111-115.
For more information, visit www.donking.com or www.goldenboypromotions.com, become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing or follow the event on twitter at www.twitter.com/GoldenBoyBoxing or www.twitter.com/abnermares00.
For information on SHOWTIME Sports Programming, including exclusive behind-the-scenes video and photo galleries, complete telecast information and more, please go the new SHOWTIME Sports website athttp://sports.sho.com/.
About Don King Productions:
Don King Productions has promoted over 600 world championship fights with nearly 100 individual boxers having been paid $1 million or more. DKP also holds the distinction of having promoted or co-promoted seven of the 10 largest pay-per-view events in history, as gauged by total buys, including three of the top five: Holyfield vs. Tyson II, 1.99 million buys, June 1997; Tyson vs. Holyfield I, 1.6 million buys, November 1996; and Tyson vs. McNeeley, 1.58 million buys, August 1995.
DKP has promoted or co-promoted 11 of the top 20 highest-grossing live gates in the history of the state of Nevada including five of the top seven: Holyfield vs. Lewis II, paid attendance: 17,078, gross: $16,860,300 (NOTE: Also second-highest live-gate gross for any event in the history of the world.), date: Nov. 13, 1999; Holyfield vs. Tyson II, paid attendance: 16,279, gross: $14,277,200, date: June 28, 1997; Holyfield vs. Tyson I, paid attendance: 16,103, gross: $14,150,700, date: Nov. 9, 1996; Tyson vs. McNeeley, paid attendance: 16,113, gross: $13,965,600, date: Aug. 19, 1995; and Trinidad vs. De La Hoya, paid attendance: 11,184, gross: $12, 949, 500. Sept. 18, 1999.
About Golden Boy Promotions:
Los Angeles-based Golden Boy Promotions was established in 2002 by Oscar de la Hoya, the first Hispanic to own a national boxing promotional company. In 2007, in its fifth year of promoting, Golden Boy Promotions set a record by selling over 2.5 million in pay-per-view homes in a single night. Also in 2007, Golden Boy Promotions established the record for highest grossing pay-per-view homes in a single year with more than 4 million total. In 2009, the company broke records again by breaking the million mark in pay-per-view homes again with the return of Floyd Mayweather. Golden Boy Promotions is one of boxing’s most active and respected promoters, presenting shows in packed venues around the United States and the world on networks such as HBO, HBO Latino, HBO Plus, SHOWTIME, TeleFutura, Televisa, ESPN2 and Fox Sports Net.
Golden Boy Promotions currently has over 70 fighters under contract, from future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins to current world champions and superstars Saul Alvarez, Robert Guerrero, David Haye, Chris John, Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana and Victor Ortiz. Also included on the company’s roster are top contenders Librado Andrade, Erislandy Lara, Abner Mares, Daniel Ponce De Leon and Peter Quillin as well as highly regarded prospects Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Frankie Gomez, Seth Mitchell, Carlos Velasquez and Deontay Wilder.
About Showtime Networks Inc.:
Showtime Networks Inc. (SNI), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CBS Corporation, owns and operates the premium television networks SHOWTIME®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ and FLIX®, as well as the multiplex channels SHOWTIME 2™, SHOWTIME® SHOWCASE, SHOWTIME EXTREME®, SHOWTIME BEYOND®, SHOWTIME NEXT®, SHOWTIME WOMEN®, SHOWTIME FAMILY ZONE® and THE MOVIE CHANNEL™ XTRA. SNI also offers SHOWTIME HD™, SHOWTIME 2 HD™, THE MOVIE CHANNEL HD™, SHOWTIME ON DEMAND®, THE MOVIE CHANNEL ON DEMAND™ and FLIX ON DEMAND®. SNI also manages Smithsonian Channel™, a joint venture between SNI and the Smithsonian Institution. All SNI feeds provide enhanced sound using Dolby Digital 5.1. SNI markets and distributes sports and entertainment events for exhibition to subscribers on a pay-per-view basis through SHOWTIME PPV®.
About Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas:
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is a premier destination entertainment resort in Las Vegas, owned by Brookfield Real Estate Finance Fund II, a division of Brookfield Asset Management (NYSE: BAM) and managed by WG-Harmon, LLC, a subsidiary of Warner Gaming, LLC. Built in 1995, the property completed a $750 million expansion in 2010. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino offers an energetic entertainment and gaming experience with the services and amenities associated with a boutique luxury resort hotel. The property is known for its innovative nightlife and music scene where acts such as The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Paul McCartney, Incubus, Linkin Park, Foo Fighters and The Killers have all performed. Features of the property include an 11-story Hard Rock Hotel tower with 640 guest rooms, 17-story Paradise Tower with 490 rooms and suites and the all-suite HRH Tower with 359 suites, eight spa villas and seven penthouse suites; 72,000 square feet of casino space; 80,000 square feet of flexible meeting and convention space; the luxurious Vanity Nightclub; Reliquary Water Sanctuary & Spa; Reliquary Salon; 4.8 acres of tropical pool paradise; REHAB, the trendsetting Sunday afternoon pool party; The Joint concert venue; Hart & Huntington Tattoo Co.; restaurants including Rare 120 steakhouse, the Tuscan-style Italian eatery AGO, world-renowned Nobu, Johnny Smalls, Pink Taco and Mr. Lucky’s 24/7 diner; numerous cocktail lounges; several retail stores; and a state-of-the-art Fitness Center. For room availability and additional information call 800.HRD.ROCK (800.473.7625) or visit www.hardrockhotel.com.