RAFAEL CONCEPCION: "YES, I WILL KNOCK OUT BANAL AGAIN"
By Carlos Costa
05 Jul 2011
Former WBA super flyweight interim world champion Rafael "El Torito" Concepcion of Panama has said today that he would be delighted to travel back to Philippines for another thrilling battle with Filipino bantamweight star AJ "Bazooka" Banal.
Rafael Concepcion and AJ Banal fought an exciting WBA title clash at Cebu Coliseum in July of 2008, which was won by "El Torito" in a dramatic 10th round KO.
That sole stunning defeat against Concepcion is the only blemish in the stellar boxing record of the 22-year-old Cebu resident AJ Banal (23-1, 19 KO's).
Three years after their first war "Bazooka" Banal is currently rated as the WBA #4 bantamweight in the world, while the former interim world champion "Torito" Concepcion is rated at WBA #14.
Would it be possible for the Cebuano boxing fans to see their local kid AJ Banal in a fight to redeem himself and avenge his only defeat?
Yes, its possible. During the recent press conference announcing the "Pinoy Pride 7" card during last weekend in Cebu, Philippines, ALA Promotions, the handlers of AJ Banal, have expressed interest in staging Concepcion-Banal II.
Would Rafael "Torito" Concepcion be interested?
Let's find out.
The following are excerpts of today's phone conversation between the author of this article and Rafael "El Torito" Concepcion, who was with his wife Ashley at their home at Barriada 24 de Diciembre in Panama:
Hola Rafa, como estas. Filipino boxer AJ Banal and his management have said to be interested in a rematch with you. Would you be interested in fighting Banal again?
Yes, sure, mi hermano. The fight is attractive. It should be very attractive to them (Banal and ALA Promotions). And again a difficult battle for me. Because I know that he (Banal) is an excellent fighter.
Since you are willing to give a rematch to Banal, how can this work out?
As of now, I have plans to fight in Panama in August. And there are some talks of an offer for me to fight in Japan later on this year.
Those are the near future plans that I have. But I am interested to go back to Cebu and KO to ALA's pupil (Banal).
Our rematch might be done. For me no problem.
Your response is so positive, Torito, so the Filipino boxing fans can expect to see you fighting Banal again?
Yes, and the prospect of fighting again in an ALA Promotions card is always attractive to me. They are all gentlemen. Don Antonio Aldeguer was friendly and treated me nice during my stay in Cebu.
However, the Filipino fans must know that I am no longer the little "Chiquillo" (unknown kid) who flew from so far away into Cebu armed with the dream of becoming a champion.
After my fight with Banal I have kept walking in life and I have kept fighting.
Now boxing fans know me because I got in the ring with the best fighters in the world.
Banal keeps fighting as well. He will fight in Cebu against Canadian Tyson Cave (15-1, 5KO's), on July 30. So it seems that if Banal wins this fight, a rematch with you is next.
Actually, if Banal wins or loses, I am willing to give him the rematch.
The friends of ALA Promotions may make a specific offer (date, place and purse) so that I can think it over and commit myself to the rematch.
Good luck to my amigo AJ in his coming fight. Let's hope that his next fight is a rematch with me.
Top photo: Banal (R) and Concepcion during the official weighin of their first fight in Cebu in July, 2008. Photo by Carlos Costa.
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