Concepcion Finishes Banal in 10

26.07.08 - Carlo Pamintuan: Heartaches continue for the fabled fighters of the well-known ALA Gym in the Philippines as Rafael Concepcion (11-2-1) of Panama knocked out the popular AJ “Bazooka” Banal (17-1-1) in the tenth round of their twelve round encounter. Banal won most of the early rounds by connecting hard punches to Concepcion’s head and body but his stamina fizzled out and Concepcion grew stronger and stronger as the rounds progressed..

The two fighters started out very strong from the opening bell as both seemed intent on winning the vacant interim WBA super flyweight title. Banal appeared to have his opponent in trouble in the middle rounds as he tagged Concepcion at will to the head and body. Concepcion would retreat and hold on to Banal many times to buy him some time to recover. Banal pressed on the action as he tried to finish Concepcion but the latter proved to be a very tough nut to crack. As the fight progressed, it was clear that Concepcion as the better conditioned athlete as his punches seemed to grow stronger while Banal was throwing fewer and much slower punches.

Banal was deducted a point in the ninth round as he threw a blatant punch after the bell. This seemed to be in retribution for the tactics that Concepcion was doing all fight long. After that point, Banal was not the same fighter. He appeared gassed which was reminiscent of the performance of his stablemate Z Gorres in his fight against Vic Darchinyan.

Concepcion was the aggressor throughout the tenth round and he caught Banal with two flush rights that sent Banal bouncing off the ropes then onto the canvass. Banal seemed fit to continue as he was on one knee after about two seconds. However, to the chagrin of the Filipinos who have come out to support him, Banal decided it was best for him to stay down. Concepcion collapsed to the canvass in ecstasy as few expected him to last six rounds against Banal and fewer expected him to go back to his home country of Panama with a title belt strapped around his waist. Concepcion climbed the turnbuckle and raised his hands in victory, he got a mixed reactions of claps and boos from the obviously disappointed crowd who expected a coronation that night, not a fight.

Banal is now the third Filipino from the ALA gym to taste defeat in his first shot at a world championship. Gorres lost his initial title bid against WBO super flyweight champion Fernando Montiel then Rey “Boomboom” Bautista was knocked out in the first round by then WBO superbantamweight champion Daniel Ponce de Leon. Banal who was tagged by many as the next Manny Pacquiao would not go back to the drawing board. At the very young age of 19, it is clear that the kid still has a lot of fight in him. As for Concepcion, he can now look forward to bigger fights in the future in his division that is ruled by Montiel and Christian Mijares.

In the other results, Milan Milendo of the Philippines won a very entertaining unanimous decision over Carlos Melo of Panama, Michael Domingo (Philippines) KO’d Rivo Rengkung (Indonesia) in the second round with a stiff uppercut, and James Bacon TKO’d Indonesia Skak Max in the sixth and final round of their fight..

Article posted on 26.07.2008

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