Yohnny Perez takes IBF bantamweight title
Yohnny Perez floored Joseph Agbeko in the 10th round and won a unanimous decision Saturday night to take the International Boxing Federation bantamweight title in the first boxing match at Treasure Island Hotel & Casino.
Perez, a Colombian who lives in California, had winning scores of 117-110 on two judges’ scorecards and 116-111 on the other to take Agbeko’s championship in the Ghana fighter’s third defense.
Perez (20-0, 14 KOs) took control of the back-and-forth match with a knockdown following an accidental head butt of Agbeko (27-2, 22 KOs) toward the end of the 10th round. Agbeko turned to referee Robert Byrd to complain about the contact and Perez connected with a left hook for the knockout.
“I didn’t see whether it was a head butt or a punch, therefore I had to rule it was from a punch,” Byrd said.
With the momentum from the knockdown, Perez continued the pressure to close the fight and take the final two rounds on all three scorecards.
“All of the hard work and preparation paid off,” Perez said. “This is a dream come true. I felt that I was more consistent, more active and pressed more throughout the fight.”
The apparent head-butt was the turning point, Agbeko said.
“He head-butted me in round 10 and I didn’t think that was far,” Agbeko said. “I thought I was fighting well toward that point. Perez seemed energized (because of the knockout) and I stayed the same.”
In the co-main event, Mexico’s Antonio DeMarco dominated Nicaragua’s Jose Alfaro from the opening bell to capture the World Boxing Council interim lightweight championship by technical knockout in the 10th round.
Referee Joe Cortez stopped the fight at the 2:07 mark of the round after DeMarco floored Alfaro twice. With DeMarco continuing the pressure, Alfaro took a knee near his corner and Cortez stepped in to halt the action.
DeMarco dropped to his knees and pounded his fists into the canvas in celebration, clearly overcome with the emotion of winning his first title.
“It’s impossible to describe the feeling I have inside me right now,” the 23-year-old DiMarco said. “My lifelong dream was to become the champion. This is the second happiest day of my life. Only the birth of my daughter comes first.”
DeMarco (23-1-1) was leading 89-82 on two judges’ scorecards and 90-81 on the other when the 12-round fight was called.
“He used his jab and distance better than I did tonight. That was the difference that I could not overcome,” said Alfaro, a former World Boxing Association champion.
“I couldn’t land my punches. I wanted to press him with my right hand. I got a couple of them in but obviously not enough.”
It was the first Las Vegas promotion by Don King in four years. King has promoted or co-promoted 12 of the top 20 highest-grossing live gates in Nevada.
King was joined by Mike Tyson, who was acknowledged before the main event by the sellout crowd of 1,016 fans. He took pictures with King and others inside the ring, and judged a post-fight Halloween costume contest.
“I have gratitude in my life,” Tyson said. “I have taken a lot in my life and now I have to give back. I never thought I would live to be 43 years old.”