Panama’s Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion is ready for WBA world title fight against Banal

Panama’s Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion is poised and ready to take on AJ “Bazooka” Banal in the much anticipated battle for the WBA Super Flyweight crown at New Cebu Coliseum, Philippines on July 26..

Concepcion is ready for Banal. His training for the world title has been well planned with the final stages intensifying in New York with fellow Panamian’s and well renown trainers Hector Roca and Pedro Romero at the world famous Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.

Hector Roca has trained no less than 18 world champions, including Iran Barkley, Aruro Gatti, Regilio Tuur, and Buddy Mcgirt, and he is famous for training Hillary Swank for her Oscar-winning role in the Clint Eastwood film Million Dollar Baby in 2004.

“We believe Panama will have their 26th world champion.” says Pedro Romero “He has good power in both hands and can hurt his opponent with either hand. He can box and punch going forward and back.”

In preparation, his team have been watching Banal’s past fights. Hector Roca said “We’ve studied his tapes and we are prepared for what AJ Banal will bring. Rafael is sparring well and is right where we want him to be at this stage.”

Concepcion is comfortable fighting southpaws but even so his trainers aren’t taking any chances. In New York, Concepcion has been sparring with opponents who emulate Banal’s style as well as with southpaw Ricardo Cordoba (33 -1-2, 21 KO’s) while back home in Panama.

By the time Concepcion arrives in the Philippines it will conclude a gruelling total of 10 weeks training. 6 weeks in Panama at Gym Master Gomez and then a further 4 weeks in the US at Gleason’s Gym.

“Concepcion is ready to fight.” says his manager at Optimum Sports Agency, Damon de Berry. “He currently weighs 120 pounds and won’t have any problems making the 115 pound limit.”

“He is a very dangerous combatant.” De Berry adds. “A fighter who leaves his home town to step up his training is a determined fighter. He’ll be entering their country and bringing the fight to AJ Banal.”

This bull of a warrior from Panama knows how to deal pain to his opponents. From the day he stepped into the pro boxing arena at age 19, Concepcion was a force to reckon with as he disposed fellow starter Carlos Murillo in the second round.

He’s gone on to knockout all but 4 of his opponents collecting the WBC Fecarbox super flyweight title along the way. His last fight with Jean Piero Perez on March 27 was an explosive fight. Perez knocked him down twice in the 2nd round. He maintained control and eventually dropped Perez in round 3.

Concepcion is rated No. 6 by the WBA with a record of 10-2-1 and 6 knockouts while Banal is ranked No. 3 with 17-0-1 and 14 KOs.

Team Concepcion will arrive in The Philippines on the 20th of July allowing a week to acclimatise and round off preparations as well as promote the fight with a whirlwind of press engagements including the official weigh in at 11am on Friday 25th.

The fight is organized by ALA Promotions in partnership with Golden Boy Promotions and will be televised by the giant broadcaster ABS CBN Sports.

The world title shot is a dream come true for Concepcion and this warrior is not the kind to leave the Philippines without the champion’s belt.

Article posted on 13.07.2008

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