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World Boxing Federation Champions Of The Past: Joseph Agbeko
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FEATURE   Photo: Former World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Bantamweight Champion Joseph "King Kong" Agbeko. 

Since the World Boxing Federation was originally founded by American Larry Carrier in 1988, many of the sport’s biggest names have won a WBF title, and proudly defended the blue, red and gold belt all over the world.

In the Champions Of The Past Series we take a closer look at some of the boxers who held WBF titles in years gone by, from lesser known champions to world renowned fighters, legends of the sport and current or future Hall of Famers.


There is no question that Azumah Nelson is the greatest boxer to ever come out of Ghana. But behind him is a long list of his countrymen who also reached the top inside the squared circle, among them former World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Bantamweight Champion Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko.

Agbeko was still only eighteen when he made his professional debut in Accra, his home-town, scoring a quick first round knockout of compatriot Agaitor Yao (0-1) on December 16, 1998 at the Kaneshie Sports Complex.

He would prove to be something of a globetrotter, as he boxed in no less than seven African countries in his first twelve outings, winning in Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa, besides his native Ghana.

In July of 1999, in his sixth pro bout, Agbeko captured the Ghanaian national Bantamweight title, stopping Abdul Malik Jabir in round one of both men's first title fight. It was a clear indication that Agbeko was already a level above his domestic rivals.

This was confirmed less than a year later, on May 5, 2000, when he blew out Nigerian Ola Balougun in two rounds to win the African Boxing Union (ABU) title, and six months after that defended the belt in South Africa with a unanimous decision over undefeated local Johannes Maisa (15-0).

Now 12-0, and with two titles on his resume, Agbeko had earned world rankings with several governing bodies, and already had his sights set on world honors. After beating Maisa he took out his next five opponents inside four rounds, while he waited for his big opportunity.

The opportunity came when Agbeko was matched against Ugandan Michael “Iron Bomber” Kizza on September 8, 2001, when they headlined in Accra with the vacant WBF World Bantamweight title on the line in front of a boisterous crowd.

It was 17-0 with 15 knockouts (Agbeko) against 14-1 with 9 knockouts (Kizza), and on paper it shaped up to be a grueling encounter between two hard-punching up-and-coming youngsters. A well-matched fight that could go either way.

However, Agbeko was again a notch above his opponent, and started the fight like a house on fire as he knocked Kizza down twice in the first round before forcing a second round stoppage to win his first world championship at only twenty-one years of age.

On May 10, 2002 “King Kong” ventured to London, England to defend the WBF World title against Romanian contender Sabin Bornei (11-2). Agbeko controlled most of the fight, and won by sixth round technical knockout when the challenger was cut above the left eye.

A period of relative inactivity followed for Agbeko, who, over the next two years, only fought twice in non-title bouts in Ghana. In May of 2004, no longer the WBF world champion, he lost for the first time, when future WBA world titlist Volodymyr Sydorenko (14-0) beat him by close majority decision in Germany.

In his first fight back, the following October, Agbeko won the Commonwealth title by unanimous decision over fellow countryman Sumaila Badu (3-2), and then disappeared from the scene for over two years.

When he returned, he had a comeback fight in Ghana before relocating to the USA and signing a promotional deal with the iconic Don King. On August 9, 2007 in Las Vegas he made his US debut with a fourth round stoppage of Fidencio Reyes (10-4-1).

Six weeks later he became a two-time world Bantamweight Champion when he stopped Luis Alberto Perez (25-1) for the IBF version, a title he defended with decisions over William Gonzalez (21-2) and Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1) before losing it to Yonnhy Perez (19-0) in October 2009.

Agbeko had to wait more than a year to get a rematch, but was crowned three-time world champion when he out-scored Perez in December of 2010. He then lost the title on points to Abner Marez (21-0-1) in August 2011, and also came up short on the cards in a rematch.

In March of 2013 Agbeko became World Bantamweight Champion for the fourth time, when he captured the vacant IBO title with a decision over Colombian Luis Melendez (34-8-1) in Accra. He then moved up to Super Bantamweight where he lost a WBA/WBO world title-challenge (UD) to Guillermo Rigondeaux (12-0).

Since that fight, in December 2013, Agbeko has boxed at least once in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, and put together a string of seven victories. Now 40 years old, and with a record of 36-5 (26), he last boxed in April of 2019.

  Part 75: Jenifer Salinas
  Part 74: Sven Hamer
  Part 73: Rob Calloway
  Part 72: Nedal Hussein
  Part 71: Irma Sanchez
  Part 70: Moses James
  Part 69: Cornelius Carr
  Part 68: Zolani Marali
  Part 67: Nicky Bentz
  Part 66: James Hare
  Part 65: Anne Sophie Mathis
  Part 64: Earl Butler
  Part 63: Dave Russell
  Part 62: Tony Dodson
  Part 61: Pete Taliaferro
  Part 60: Fredrik Alvarez
  Part 59: Ajose Olusegun
  Part 58: Chevelle Hallback
  Part 57: Evander Holyfield
  Part 56: Peter Culshaw
  Part 55: Rolando Toyogon
  Part 54: Joaquin Velasquez
  Part 53: Steve Molitor
  Part 52: Nadya Hokmi
  Part 51: Bert Cooper
  Part 50: Alfred Kotey
  Part 49: Yosuke Nishijima
  Part 48: Wayne Rigby
  Part 47: Jesus Chong
  Part 46: Renata Szebeledi
  Part 45: Lester Ellis
  Part 44: Patrick Vungbo
  Part 43: Patrick Washington
  Part 42: Ric Siodora
  Part 41: Guy Waters
  Part 40: Natascha Ragosina
  Part 39: Nicky Cook
  Part 38: Fahprakorb Rakkiatgym
  Part 37: Felix Camacho
  Part 36: Homer Gibbins
  Part 35: Joe Bugner
  Part 34: Myriam Lamare
  Part 33: Darrin Morris
  Part 32: Suwito Lagola
  Part 31: Aaron Zarate
  Part 30: Tommy Small
  Part 29: Matthew Charleston
  Part 28: Jane Couch
  Part 27: Fahlan Sakkreerin
  Part 26: Kenny Keene
  Part 25: Yvan Mendy
  Part 24: Ronnie Magramo
  Part 23: Randall Yonker
  Part 22: Holly Holm
  Part 21: Vinnie Curto
  Part 20: Robin Reid
  Part 19: Lionel Butler
  Part 18: Mads Larsen
  Part 17: Ken Sigurani
  Part 16: Orlando Fernandez
  Part 15: Roger Turner
  Part 14: Roy Jones Jr.
  Part 13: Fitz Vanderpool
  Part 12: Steve Roberts
  Part 11: Thulani "Sugarboy" Malinga
  Part 10: Junior Witter
  Part 9: Jimmy Thunder
  Part 8: Juan Lazcano
  Part 7: Jeff Malcolm
  Part 6: Ricky Parkey
  Part 5: Carl Daniels
  Part 4: Angel Manfredy
  Part 3: Samson Dutch Boy Gym
  Part 2: Greg Haugen
  Part 1: Johnny Nelson

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