BY SAMSON ATEKA – After losing the green belt (WBC International super-bantamweight title) against unbeaten Pilipino prospect Balweg Bangoyan, Kenyan Sande Otieno is at pains to redeem his boxing career at a new weight-class..
The diminutive former Kenyan international is set to exchange jabs with North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super bantamweight champion Bernabe “The Real Deal” Concepcion of Philippines for the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) international featherweight title. The fight – dubbed “Judgment Day in the Far East”, -will be staged at the Araneta Coliseum in Manila on January 11.
Sande only took a day off for Christmas vacation (on December 25) unperturbed by his return to the traditional featherweight class; he was synonymous with during his amateur days for the Kenya ‘Hit Squad’.
He is currently back at his St Teresas Gym base with vim and vigor. Said He: “It’s not a big deal to move a berth up. I feel much comfortable going to the next level and all is going well in training. I have cut shot my Christmas and New Year celebrations to focus on the green belt I lost through dubious means. I had more of the fight but judges thought otherwise when my opponent was injured. They made sure they held on to the cards through to the fifth to allow Bangoyan benefit from the four-round score-card rule in the event of injuries.”
Sande, however, predicted a tough one against Concepcion but was optimistic of carrying the day. Concepcion who lives in Binangonan, Rizal , Philippines is ranked 7th in the world (out of 823 pugilists, according to www.bopxrec.com) after racking up a 55.17 KO percent performance from 27 (KO 16) 27-1-1 in the 170 rounds he has boxed. Sande on the other hand has a 41.18 percent KO advantage from 98 round of professional career.
“I know he enjoys a better global ranking than me but he surely must fight on the match day,” said Sande at St Teresas Gym where he is shaping up under Coach Paul Otti.
The duo departs the country on January 3 and transit through Doha , Qatar and onward to Manila .
The triple main event card promoted by Jaro International Promotion in cooperation with Aim Global, will also showcase former world light flyweight challenger and Oriental Pacific champion Sonny Boy “The Bullet” Jaro and RP miniflyweight king Denver “The Excitement” Cuello against separate foreign foes. Otieno, a former WBC international super bantamweight champion, tots a record of 17 wins, 1 loss and 7 KO’s.
Sande saw the WBC International title slip from his grasps when proceedings were halted in the 5th round owing to a cut on Bangoyan’s brow.
Bangoyan handed Otieno a kockdown and a subsequent 8 seconds compulsory count saw Otieno pick himself up again to recover from the upset. All the 3 judges scored a 10-8 in favor of Balweg Bangoyan.