Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko, Tapia vs. Kirkland, Macklin vs. Russ opening quotes & details

Credit: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Undefeated Super Bantamweight champion Guillermo  “El Chacal” Rigondeaux returns to the ring fresh from his career-best victory. Rigondeaux will be defending his unified titles against Joseph “King Kong” Agbeko, Saturday, December 7, at Boardwalk Hall’s Adrian Phillips Ballroom in Atlantic City. The card will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

The live telecast will also feature local favorite Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia risking his Top-10 rating and undefeated record in a 10-round junior middleweight battle against knockout artist James Kirkland and three-time world title challenger Matthew Macklin in a 10-round middleweight rumble against undefeated contender Lamar Russ.

“After a brilliant performance against Nonito Donaire, Rigondeaux puts his extraordinary skills to test on December 7 against Joseph Agbeko,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “This bout epitomizes the contrast of style of slick boxer versus brawler. Which style will prevail?”

“On December 7, fans will see some of the fight game’s purest boxing and punching at its most distilled,” says Peter Nelson, director of programming, HBO Sports. “The Boardwalk in Atlantic City is the perfect home for three such intriguing match-ups.”

“I’m very excited to get back in the ring,” said Rigondeaux.

“Joseph Agbeko is a great champion, and I believe all fans will be pleased with the type of performance we will both exhibit to end a great year of boxing. I believe Agbeko will come prepared, ready to engage and be very aggressive. We will both showcase our skills, and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to end 2013 the way I opened it up, with surprise and pure boxing class for the world to see. I would like to thank HBO, my promoters Top Rank and Caribe promotions, my manager Gary Hyde, advisor Alex Bornote, trainers Ramon Garbey, Joel Casamayor, Pedro Luis, and all those that have a part in making this fight happen.”

“This is going to be a great fight. I’m extremely motivated. I plan to make my country proud by becoming world champion again after I defeat Rigondeaux,” declared Agbeko.

“I’ve been waiting for this opportunity my whole life. Now that it’s here it’s time for me to show the world that I’m here to stay. This is just the beginning,” said Tapia.

“Tapia hasn’t fought anyone near my level. I’m going for the knockout,” said Kirkland.

“I am looking forward to getting back in the ring and back to my winning ways,” said Macklin.

“I’ve seen a few of Russ’ fights and he’s very sharp, very skilled and he’s always in exciting fights as am I. This should be a great fight for the fans both in Atlantic City and those watching on HBO. A big win against Lamar will set me up nicely for a big 2014.”

“This is great opportunity for me and my team,” said Russ. “I want it to be known to the fans and to Macklin that on December 7th I am coming to fight and I am coming to win.”

“We are delighted that Joseph Agbeko has stepped up to the plate by challenging Rigo for his WBA and WBO world titles and we are looking forward to putting on a “master class performance” against little Joe December 7th,” said Gary Hyde, Rigondeaux’s manager.

“Joseph Agbeko is a great warrior in the tradition of African fighters like Azumah Nelson. He’s coming for the title and plans to lay it all on the line. He’s a legitimate danger to Rigondeaux,” said Frank Espinoza, Agbeko’s manager.

“I’d like to thank Top Rank and HBO for giving Glen this opportunity,” said Tapia’s manager Pat Lynch. “I know it’s something he’s worked really hard for. It’s going to be a great fight and Glen will not disappoint his fans on December 7.”

“Kirkland brings all-out aggression into the ring. He’s strong, powerful and exciting,” said Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, of SMS Promotions.

“Macklin-Russ should be a barnburner between two fighters who can bang,” said Lou DiBella, Macklin’s promoter. “The fight means so much to both boxers that it can’t help but be a good one and we are happy that it is on such a high quality card in Atlantic City.”

“We know that Russ will come to fight but we are very confident in Matt’s skills and experience and know those two assets will put us back into the win column,” said Macklin’s advisor Anthony Catanzaro.

These six gladiators boast a combined record of 135-10, 96 KOs — a winning percentage of 93% and a victory by knockout ratio of 71%.

Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Caesars Atlantic City, Caribe Promotions, SMS Promotions, DiBella Entertainment and Tecate, tickets to the Rigondeaux vs. Agbeko world championship event go on sale Thursday, November 14, at Noon ET. Priced at $200, $100. $50 and $25, plus applicable service charges, tickets can be purchased at Boardwalk Hall box office, all Ticketmaster locations and online at www.ticketmaster.com.

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