Abe Concepcion is the NEW WBC International Featherweight Champion!
Bernabe Concepcion captured the vacant WBC International featherweight title Sunday night (January 11, 2009), with a 5th round TKO win over Kenyan Sande Otieno. The fight was held at the historic Araneta Coliseum, and was Bernabe Concepcion’s first fight in 2009, after having a breakthrough 2008, where he successfully defended his NABF title a couple of times, topping it off with a head-turning performance on the undercard of Cotto and Margarito’s entry for fight of the year.
Last night’s fight was also the first time for Bernabe Concepcion to fight for a title in a locally promoted card, as his past title shots and defenses were all held abroad; his last seven fights in fact were either held in the US or Mexico. The card was a just and fitting welcome for the 20-year old son of Virac, Catanduanes, not because he won another regional title in another weight class, but more importantly because he was able to perform again in front of his countrymen, something Concepcion always wanted to do.
Against, Sande Otieno, Bernabe Concepcion was pretty much landing at will, and was definitely landing the more telling blows, bloodying the Kenyan’s nose as early as the first round. Concepcion controlled the fight from round one, staggering Otieno repeatedly, letting up once in while to let the Kenyan land a couple of his own shots, prolonging the fight a little to give the audience their money’s worth. Bernabe Concepcion seemed to be content with counterpunching and tagging Otieno with his right leads in the early rounds, but turned it up a notch by round 4 cutting Otieno along the left eyebrow: a cut that was made worse by an accidental clash of heads. The Kenyan was allowed to fight one more round but Concepcion kept tagging him with hard shots to the head and body and the round ends with Otieno dripping blood everywhere. After the 5th round, the doctor has seen enough.
Otieno like Bernabe Concepcion was also going up in weight from superbantam hoping to capture the vacant WBC Intercontinental featherweight title. Otieno was the former WBC international Superbantamweight Champion, a champion that has not been stopped in 17 fights. His lone loss was via a technical decision, losing on points when the fight was stopped after his opponent was deemed unable to continue because of a cut suffered from an accidental clash of heads.
With the win, Bernabe Concepcion would seem to be letting go of the superbantamweight division, and moving to the featherweight division after apparently having trouble making 122. It is a shame though that he wasn’t able to capture a world title at superbantam despite being highly rated by both the WBC and WBO, we hope that 2009 would be THAT year, and featherweight would be THAT division where Bernabe Concepcion finally wins his first world title. Winning the WBC International featherweight belt, is indeed a good start. Congratulations Abe!