BERNABE “THE REAL DEAL” CONCEPCION

birth date: 1988-01-20
age: 19 
division: super bantamweight
nationality:  Philippines 
alias: Kamaong Llave / Real Deal
residence: Binangonan, Rizal, Philippines
birth place: Vigan, Catanduanes, Phil.
stance: orthodox
height: 5′ 4″
reach: 69“

Titles : WBC Youth Super Bantamweight Champion, NABF Super Bantamweight Champion

Concepcion has two older brothers who were also professional boxers which became Abe Concepcion’s inspiration for taking up boxing himself. He started boxing at an early age, watching his brothers at first and eventually training with them. He then went into amateur boxing but almost immediately turned professional when he turned 16. With a combination of power despite a lanky frame and solid boxing fundamentals he learned as a kid, Concepcion at 16 was already considered as one of Philippine boxing’s hottest prospects. He fights his best in hostile territory, carving out his most impressive wins outside the country. He won his first title via KO in China against the Chinese hometown hero, and got his two recent belts in the US against rated opposition.

What makes Concepcion different is his height-reach ratio. He stands only 5’4″ but has a long 69″ reach virtually nullifying whatever advantage a taller opponent might have over him. He also has uncanny power as he has five first-round KOs this early in his career – more first-round KOs than fellow Pinoy prospects Boom-Boom Bautista and AJ Banal. Even Pacquiao despite his high KO percentage and fearsome power didn’t have more KOs than Concepcion when he was his age. 

In Concepcion’s first try for a title, he got his first draw as well as his first taste of the canvas, but was able to floor his veteran opponent as well in the early rounds of that fight – Concepcion was only 17 years old then. In that fight, he showed that he can take a punch as well as he can dish them.  A year later, he would win the WBC youth super bantamweight title by scoring an impressive unanimous decision win over an erstwhile undefeated opponent, Joksan “El Torito” Hernandez. Concepcion dropped Hernandez in the opening round, hammered him in the second and went on to win a lopsided unanimous decision. An impressed Bob Arum immediately signed Bernabe Concepcion up for TOPRANK. The fact that Concepcion managed to impress Uncle Bob should already be a testament to the kid’s raw talent as Arum, a very good judge of boxing talent, is not that easily impressed.  In Concepcion’s next fights as a TOPRANK fighter, he would score a lopsided decision win against Mexican-American Benjamin Flores in his first defense of his WBC youth title, and at 19 years-old Concepcion would win the vacant NABF super bantamweight title by knocking out Gabriel Elizondo. In his last fight, he faced an opponent who was taller than him, had a longer reach, more seasoned and naturally bigger. Salvador Garcia was a “featherweight” test for Concepcion and he showed everybody that he can mix it up even with fighters in the next division. Concepcion KOed Garcia in round 9 of a scheduled 10 rounder. Concepcion was never even close to being in trouble in all of his US fights.

What’s scary about Abe Concepcion is realizing that his body is still developing and that he’s nowhere near his prime yet. But if you watch him fight, you can see the maturity in him as a fighter. He thinks, he adjusts, he never gets jittery nor over-excited, little intangibles that sets him apart from other Pinoy prospects. He also has more international exposure than most upstart Pinoy boxers today and he’s already captured 2 international belts. Pacquiao himself wasn’t as successful when he was 19. Concepcion also hasn’t been KOed yet. He was knocked down once (on a lucky punch) but showed that he has a solid chin, rising from the canvas to get back at his opponent. His only loss was a close majority decision loss to veteran Mark Sales early in his career – a fight that could have gone either way.

This February (if things go well), Concepcion is scheduled to face his toughest test yet, a fight with undefeated prospect Juan Manuel Lopez in defense of his NABF title. Juan Manuel Lopez is a legit star in the making, following the footsteps of  fellow Puerto Ricans Trinidad and Cotto. Juanma has never lost in 20 fights and only two of his fights went the distance. Also like Cotto and Trinidad, Juan  Manuel Lopez had an illustrious amateur career with a record of 126-24. He represented Puerto Rico in the 2004 Olympics. Concepcion has never faced a fighter that is even close to Juanma’s speed, power and boxing skills. If Concepcion hurdles this test and gets past a prime Juan Manuel Lopez, he will be the Philippine’s newest star. This win would also catapult him to a possible title fight before the year ends. Really surprising turn of events considering that a year ago, Concepcion was only considered as a mere replacement for a sick Boom Boom Bautista.

youtube videos courtesy of 

http://www.kamaongpinoy.com, http://www.youtube.com/dapusit, http://uk.youtube.com/densprincipe

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