BANAL WILL BOUNCE BACK, SAYS WBO EXEC
By Salven L. Lagumbay
28 Jul 2008
AJ "Bazooka" Banal, who lost in his bid to win the WBA interim superfly title on Saturday, still has long ways to go and will definitely return a stronger and more dangerous fighter after his devastating loss at the hands of Panama's Rafael "El Torito" Concepcion.
This was the observation made yesterday by World Boxing Organization (WBO) Asia Pacific chairman Leon Panoncillo, who was at special ringside during the fight.
"You know, he's only a 19-year-old kid, and people tend to put too much pressure on him. Let's give him a break, and let him pick up the pieces," said Panoncillo in an exclusive interview in Zamboanga City where he flew the following morning after the fight.
Banal was leading on all three judges' scorecards when in the tenth, he was felled by a glancing blow to the face after heavy body bombardment from Concepcion. Silence wrapped the crowd when Banal did not respond to his corner's shouts to get up, and opted to remain on the canvas as referee Raul Caiz Jr tolled the count of ten.
Panoncillo added that although Banal lost to Concepcion for the WBA interim title, indications are that Golden Boy Promotions of Oscar De la Hoya is still keen on signing him up as a talent.
"There's no question that Banal has great potentials. All he needs right now is the right training and conditioning program," added Panoncillo.
Meanwhile, newly-crowned WBO Oriental bantamweight champion Michael Domingo is expected to move up in the world rankings and can now look forward to bigger fights ahead of him.
Domingo, who gained international fame when he defeated the then unbeaten Mexican Miguel Roman at the World Cup last year, blasted Indonesia's Rivo Rengkung in two rounds to win the Oriental title.
Panoncillo says that Domingo might next defend his title against former world champion Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, who twice faced WBO bantam champ Gerry Penalosa in the past.
"Domingo is turning out to be quite a revelation. He impressed a lot of people Saturday night," added the boxing executive.
Top photo: AJ 'Bazooka' Banal (R) tags Rafael Concepcion with a right hook in this bit of action from their duel last Saturday at the Cebu Coliseum in Cebu City.
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