Joseph Agbeko retained his International Boxing Federation bantamweight title with a unanimous decision over Vic Darchinyan on Saturday night.
Using solid rights to the head, which eventually opened cuts above both of Darchinyan’s eyes, Agbeko spoiled Darchinyan’s goal of winning his third world title in a different division.
Two judges scored the bout 114-113 for Agbeko, while the third had it for the native of Ghana, 116-111.
The bout had one disputed knockdown in the seventh round, when television replays showed Darchinyan pushed Agbeko to the canvas. But referee Tommy Kimmons ruled it a scoring punch for Darchinyan.
Agbeko (27-1) shook off the knockdown and peppered Darchinyan with repeated rights to the head the rest of the fight.
Darchinyan, a native of Armenia now living in Australia, did his best work in the middle rounds, when he scored with left hooks to the head. A former flyweight and junior-bantamweight titleholder, Darchinyan is now 32-2-1.
The victory was Agbeko’s second as bantamweight champion. He won the 118-pound crown with a seventh-round technical knockout over Luis Perez in 2007 and beat William Gonzalez on Dec. 11 in his first defense.
Agbeko weighed 116 pounds for Saturday’s bout, one less than Darchinyan. Earlier, former IBF cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham won a unanimous decision over Wayne Braithwaite.
Cunningham was the busier fighter in the 12-round cruiserweight bout, scoring repeatedly with left jabs to the head and rights to the body. Braithwaite, also a former cruiserweight titleholder, tried cutting Cunningham’s distance but only scored sporadically with short combinations to the head. All three judges scored the fight Cunningham: 119-109, 118-110, and 117-111. The fight was Cunningham’s first since losing his title to Tomasz Adamek on Dec. 11.