Tonight at Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas, NV, IBF bantam champ Joseph Agbeko faces the challenge of Yonnhy Perez in what should turn out to be an epic battle.
Agbeko, 27-1 (22), of Ghana, came out of nowhere in 2004 to lose a narrow IBF title challenge to Wladimir Sidorenko in Germany before capturing the vacant Commonwealth crown later that year.
After a two and a half year absence from the ring, Agbeko returned with three bouts in 2007, the last of which won him the IBF bantam crown when stopping Luis Alberto Perez in the seventh.
After a difficult majority decision victory against William Gonzalez last December, Agbeko really hit the limelight when soaking up everything multi-weight champ Vic Darchinyan had to offer in July, banging out a unanimous decision after 12 absolutely furious rounds.
Tonight, the 29 year Bronx resident puts his IBF belt at risk for the third time, facing undefeated Colombian Yonnhy Perez, 19-0 (14).
Now living in California, 30 year old Perez has been steadily toiling away on undercards in America since 2005, picking up the NABF bantam strap with a good ten round decision over veteran Oscar Andrade in June, 2008.
Last May, Perez hit the jackpot by traveling to South Africa to dramatically stop local hero and two-time world title challenger Silence Mabuza in a bruising test of wills.
At stake had been the number one spot in the IBF rankings and tonight in Las Vegas, Perez finally gets a world title shot but will be stepping up to a higher level of competition than having previously faced.
Perez is much more of a stand up boxer than Agbeko with good combination punching but the Mabuza fight highlighted the Colombian's vulnerability to right hands.
That could prove to be a problem in this bout for Perez as Agbeko's best punch is a slinging lead right that the African can launch from any angle.
Perez must take the fight to Agbeko and get his punches off first but can't let the bout devolve into a free for all, as the champion is at his best in such circumstances.
Agbeko will likely seek to keep the challenger off balance by leaping in with big counter shots and if he can keep Perez from getting in rhythm, the belt should stay in his hands, but the victor of this title fight will likely be the man who can conserve enough energy for a late round rally.
That will be easier said than done in what should be a very high punch volume clash.