CONCEPCION KNOCKS OUT BANAL IN 10TH (With Photos)
By Dong Secuya
Sun, 27 Jul 2008
CEBU CITY -- Panama's Rafael 'El Torito' Concepcion willed his way to overpower the slick-punching but late last night a totally exhausted AJ 'Bazooka' Banal of the Philippines to win the WBA superfly interim title at the full house Cebu Coliseum here.
Concepcion sent Banal kneeing to the canvas in the 10th round where Banal was unable to beat the referee's count apparently due more to exhaustion to the dismay of thousands of local fans in attendance who were expecting a sure win by the erstwhile undefeated ALA Gym world title contender.
Banal started the fight as expected by outpunching the Panamanian visitor and inflicting a cut to Concepcion's nose that began to bleed in the very first round. Banal controlled the fight in most of the first eight rounds staggering the tough as nails 'El Torito' several times but Concepcion lived up to his monicker as he continued to bully his way even though he was outgunned to the now sputtering 'Bazooka'.
In the 9th round Banal, running out of gas, gasped for breath as Concepcion hammered him with looping shots to the side of the body. Banal was deducted a point by the referee at the end of the 9th round after hitting Concepcion at the break. Sensing a weakening opponent, Concepcion was all over Banal in the 10th until he trapped Banal in a neutral corner and connect with a solid right to the head of Banal for the knockdown.
Banal was leading on the three judges' scorecards by 86-84 (twice) and 88-82 at the end of the 9th round.
In the other featured fights, Milan Melindo won the WBA Intercontinental title by unanimous decision over Carlos Melo of Panama. The scores were 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112, all for Melindo. Michael Domingo knocked out Rivo Rengkung of Indonesia in the 2nd round to win the WBO Oriental bantamweight title while James Bacon TKO’d Indonesia's Skak Max in the final second of their six round contest.
Top photo: Rafael Concepcion (L) of Panama shouts after he knocked down AJ Banal (C) of the Philippines in the 10th round as Referee Caiz comes in for the count at the Cebu Coliseum in Cebu City Saturday night.
Referee Caiz waves his hands to signal the end of the contest after Banal fails to beat the count.
Rafael 'El Torito' Concepcion of Panama lies down to the canvas to celebrate his victory against AJ Banal of the Philippines.
Concepcion is still lying on the canvas as his team enters the ring to celebrate.
Banal cries on his corner after his defeat at the hands of Concepcion as he was being comforted by Inquirer columnist Recah Trinidad.
Concepcion is being awarded with a championship belt Philippine Games and Amusement Board Chairman Eric Buhain.
Milan Melindo raises his hand after being award the WBA Intercontinental champion belt.
Melindo (R) and Melo go toe to toe in the bit of action from their fight Saturday night.
Michael Doming sends Rivo Rengkung of Indonesia to the canvas.
Domingo receives the championship belt from WBO Vice-President Leon Panoncillo (L) and GAB commissioner Angel Bautista (R).
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Dong Secuya.
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