The International Boxing Federation (IBF) is ordering an immediate rematch between new bantamweight titlist Abner Mares and Joseph Agbeko after their controversial fight on August 13, which aired live on Showtime as the finals of the network's four-man bantamweight tournament.
We'll have the full release from the IBF shortly, but they have confirmed that the rematch has been ordered.. Bad Left Hook has also put in a request with the Nevada commission for thoughts on referee Russell Mora's performance, but they have thus far not made any official comment.
Agbeko (28-3, 22 KO) and Mares (22-0-1, 13 KO) are still two of the top bantamweights in the world, and I think most would consider them the division's best outside of pound-for-pound contender Nonito Donaire. The fight itself was quite good, even with all of the fouling from Mares and the poor officiating, and a rematch with a referee that can control the action could be even better. There's no doubt that they both have crowd-pleasing styles that can mesh and make for a terrific fight, but we didn't fully get to see that on Saturday. Hopefully soon we will.
Update by Scott (3:05 p.m. EDT): Here's the full IBF statement.
IBF President Daryl Peoples and IBF Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker completed their review of the IBF Optional Bantamweight Championship bout that took place on August 13, 2011 in Las Vegas, NV, between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares.
Mr. Peoples and Mr. Tucker observed several low blow fouls committed by Abner Mares. While the referee, Russell Mora, issued numerous warnings for low blows during the course of the bout, he neglected to deduct points for these fouls. With 1:03 left in round eleven, Joseph Agbeko was hit with a low blow foul that forced him to the canvas. Mr. Mora determined that the blow landed by Mares was legal and began to count indicating that a knockdown had occurred.
Based upon their review of the bout, it has been determined by the IBF that inappropriate conduct by the referee affected the outcome of the fight.
In accordance with IBF/USBA Rule 3.D., the IBF is ordering a rematch between Joseph Agbeko and Abner Mares for the IBF Bantamweight title which must be held within the next 120 days or by December 14, 2011.