Sena “The African Assassin” Agbeko rose to the occasion, scoring an upset over previously undefeated prospect Isaiah Steen in the 10-round super middleweight co-main event of SHOBOX: The New Generation telecast from Bally’s Atlantic City Casino & Resort , the first SHOBOX® site more than 21 years ago.
Agbeko (27-2, 21 KOs), who came into the fight claiming to be one of the best 168-pounders in the world and just needed the step to prove it, took advantage of the opportunity to win the most growth in his work. He won by convincing scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94.
“To be able to come out and do that, I’m very happy to be motivated by all the hard work I’ve put into this game,” said the 30-year-old Agbeko, who dismissed the suggestion that not allowed. Undefeated contender Vladimir Shishkin in his only previous SHOBOX appearance in 2021. “My biggest concern coming into the B category is that I will be robbed. It’s better than I expected, and my goal is to loosen up and let go of my hands.”
After winning the first three rounds on all three scorecards of the judges, Agbeko built a lead that he would never surrender. While SHOBOX’s unofficial Hall of Famer Steve Farhood had the fight even at 95-95 on his card, the judges agreed with Agbeko’s brutality and punching power to Steen’s jabs. Despite taking the fight in less than three weeks, Agbeko did not give up and won the second round on all three judges’ cards. Overall, Abgeko outshot Steen 75-73 and had a 45-18 advantage in shots.
Agbeko, who fought from Nashville, Tennessee, was not shy about calling out Music City native and Agbeko’s former training partner Caleb Plant after the win.
“I love Caleb Plant! Caleb, let’s do it in Nashville. Let’s sell out the Bridgestone Arena,” Agbeko shouted into the camera after his win.
Steen (16-1, 12 KOs), a promising prospect from Cleveland, missed a chance to catapult himself to the top of the middleweight division. However, he thought he had done more than enough to win the war.
Steen, the brother of 2016 US Olympian and SHOBOX alum Charles Conwell said: “The match was ruined, literally. “He wouldn’t touch me. I was adding more jabs, connecting and landing more shots. I didn’t see what The judges didn’t see it, but I won this fight. They were scoring his punches. His big punches were flying and they weren’t landing. When they said 98-92 I thought that was my score. He wasn’t touching me.”
In the co-feature, perennial spoiler and SHOBOX returnee Marquis Taylor (13-1-2, 1 KO) used his conditioning and skill to pull away from Marlon Harrington (8-1, 7 KOs) in the second half of super. Welterweight fight, cruising to a decisive decision victory. The scores were 80-72 and 79-73 twice.
After a cagey and difficult first three rounds, Harrington, who had never gone more than four rounds in his career, began to fade. In an eight-round fight, Taylor’s best performance came in rounds six through eight. He landed 30 punches in six rounds, 31 punches in seven rounds and 33 punches in the final. Overall, Taylor had a 156 to 54 advantage in punches combined.
“I knew I had to be smart out there,” Taylor said. “He was in control the whole fight, so I had to be smart and not do anything wrong. I like KO but I know if I start looking, that’s his game and he can catch me with something. I have to be smart the whole fight.”
Harrington became the fourth fighter that Taylor defeated in his career and the 218th fighter to lose his undefeated record on SHOBOX.
Taylor continued: “I’m not surprised I was dominant.” “Usually I’m the big ring. I wanted to shut him down, but I had to keep in mind he was dangerous from round one to eight. It’s very strong, it’s nasty and slick, so I have to raise my hands up and not put my chin in the air and stay with the roots.
Two undefeated heavyweights put it all on the line in the SHOBOX opener, but Moses “Thunderhands” Johnson (9-0-1, 7 KOs) won over Mexico’s Elvis Garcia (12- 1, 9 KOs) in all action, an exciting event that was prepared until the last bell. Johnson won by majority decision with scores of 76-76 and 77-75 twice.
In typical SHOBOX fashion, this is a great scene in the careers of both fighters and a chance to take the next big step in the heavyweight division. From the opening bell, there was a quick contest in the middle of the ring. Both fighters had their moments, showing passion, skill and strong knockouts.
“It’s all heart,” said Johnson, 30, of Huntington, NY. We’ll get there. We’ll be back in the gym on Monday.
“I can’t lie, I thought the two rounds were close, but I knew I had gas in me and I knew I had more heart than him. It’s tough. I feel like he’s close, but I must have reached him.
Garcia outshot Johnson in both punches (209-191), but Johnson impressed the judges with his bodywork as 82 of his 191 landings were body shots. Garcia landed an average of 26 of 67 punches per round and landed 46 percent of his power while Johnson landed 24 of 72 punches per round and 39 percent of his power.
“I was really upset with the goal,” Garcia said. “I think I did a lot more than that. What he does is sit on top of me and put his weight on top of me and try to stop me from moving. I hurt him a lot more. I saw his eyes widen at times and he was stumbling. I would love to fight him again and I will be back.”