Concepcion finally gets his first title shot vs. Luevano!
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Bernabe “Real Deal” Concepcion (28-1-1, 16 KO’s) battles WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano (36-1-1, 15 KO’s) on the undercard of the “Battle of the East and West” headlined by Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao against Britain’s Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on May 2.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports that he changed his original plan of staging the Concepcion fight on his April 25 card in Puerto Rico and moved it to May 2 because the April date was “no good, because trainer Freddie Roach wants to be with Concepcion” in his corner.
Arum said “obviously that’s a very important fight” for Concepcion but since it will take place during the training of Manny he decided to “accommodate everybody” by moving the Concepcion-Luevano title fight to May 2.
The 21 year old Concepcion who is managed by Aljoe Jaro in partnership with Pacquiao and Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz is coming off a 5th round technical decision win over gutsy Sande Otieno in a clash for the vacant WBC International featherweight title with Concepcion who was having a hard time making the super bantamweight limit of 122 moving up to featherweight.
Concepcion opened up a bad cut over Otieno’s right eye in the third round with a hard right and bloodied his face in the fifth forcing referee Bruce McTavish to call a halt on the advise of the ring physician.
Concepcion, the hard-hitting title prospect fought four times last year and won all four but had a tough time against Mexico’s Giovanni Caro over whom he scored an 8th round knockout after the ring physician had wanted to stop the fight in the previous round because the Filipino’s left eye was almost totally shut.
One report on the fight said that sensing urgency after seeing the doctor, Concepcion urged on by Pacquiao fought ferociously and landed a left-right combination that put Caro on the canvas for good.
Luevano is a 27 year old southpaw who won the title with an 11th round knockout of Britain’s undefeated Nicky Cook on July 14, 2007. He was held to a draw in a title defense against Mario Santiago last June 28 and in his last fight successfully defended his crown against Australia’s Billy Dib with a fairly comfortable twelve round decision.
Luevano is known for his speed and boxing ability and uses his left straight effectively although he doesn’t appear to have the power of Concepcion.