Boxing

Rigondeaux decisions Agbeko to retain super bantamweight belts

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ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey (AP)

WBA and WBO super bantamweight champion Guillermo Rigondeaux retained his titles with a 12-round, unanimous decision over former two-time bantamweight champ Joseph Agbeko at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom on Saturday night.

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Judges Eugene Grant (120-108), Ron McNair (120-108) and Robin Taylor (120-108) all had Rigondeaux winning every round.

"I came to do what I need to do," Rigondeaux said through an interpreter. "Every time out there, I try to improve. I'm improving every day. I had no problems in any round."

Rigondeaux, a native of Cuba now living in Miami, delivered a solid-yet-conservative performance.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is considered one of boxing's top pound-for-pound fighters, but draws criticism for his style.

He generated cheers from the crowd in the sixth round by landing five straight powerful left crosses to Agbeko's midsection, but otherwise was content to stay on the outside and pepper him with right jabs and left hooks before dancing out of danger.

Agbeko also deserved criticism for the slow pace. Trainer Roger Mayweather urged him to throw punches and take a few chances, but he was content to stay in a defensive shell for most of the bout.

Agbeko averaged only 29 punches per round.

"I felt strong throughout the fight, it was just tough to get to him," Agbeko said. "I hurt my right hand early and couldn't throw it much. But it was hard to catch him. He's very fast and he's got great footwork."


Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, was making his fourth defense of the WBA title he gained by knocking out former champion Rico Ramos in the sixth round on Jan. 20, 2012.

He followed with a fifth-round TKO over Philadelphia native Teon Kennedy and a 12-round decision over Roberto Marooquin before adding the WBO belt with his stunning, 12-round decision over Nonito Donaire last April 13.

Agbeko, a native of Ghana, was a two-time IBF bantamweight champ who made the jump from 118 pounds to 122 for the first time Saturday night.

In the co-feature, middleweight James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), of Austin, Texas, registered a sixth-round TKO over formerly unbeaten prospect Glen Tapia (20-1), of Passaic, N.J.

Referee Steve Smoger halted the fight at 38 seconds of the sixth when Kirkland pinned Tapia against the ropes and landed a half dozen unanswered punches.

Tapia was later transported to nearby AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center City Campus for treatment.

The other top fight on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" tripleheader had English middleweight Matthew Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) earn a 10-round, unanimous decision over Lamar Russ (14-1), of Wilmington, N.C.

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