by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Trainer Robert Garcia, a former world champion who trains his undefeated brother Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia predicts a tough fight against Bernabe Concepcion in their WBO North American Boxing Organization featherweight championship bout at the Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 10.
The Garcia-Concepcion bout will be on the undercard of the rematch between Mexico’s WBO featherweight champion Oscar Salido and former champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez.
In an overseas telephone conversation with tBoxingScene.com/Manila Standard, Garcia said “it’s a tough fight. Concepcion is a great fighter with experience and with a lot of power so we got to be better prepared for him.”
He said his 24 year old brother who is the reigning WBO NABO champion and has a record of 27-0 with 23 knockouts "has been training very hard, he’s sparring really well and he’ll be ready for Concepcion on March 10.”
Garcia said Mikey has had four good sparring partners. Among them is undefeated Russian lightweight Evgeny Gradovich (11-0, 6 KO’s) who also sparred with Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire when Donaire was preparing for his WBO super bantamweight title fight against former champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr, undefeated 19 year old super featherweight Joel Diaz (8-0, 7 KO’s), Garcia’s nephew Javier Garcia, a lightweight with a 7-2-1, 6 KO’s record and one other fighter whose name he could not recall..
Garcia won the WBO NABO title with a 4th round knockout of Rafael Guzman on June 4, 2011 and then scored a 4th round TKO over Juan Carlos Martinez whom he dropped once in round 3 and twice in round 4 showing his power in addition to his hand-speed and overall boxing skills.
The 24 year old Concepcion has a record of 29-5-1 withn 15 knockouts and last fought on October 27, 2011 when he eked out a ten round split decision over Aaron Garcia in a clash for the WBC Continental Americas featherweight title.
Concepcion fought “Juanma” Lopez for the world title and lost by a 2nd round TKO after dropping Lopez near the end of the first round. He also fought Steve Luevano for the title on August 15, 2009 and was a trifle unlucky to be disqualified by referee Jay Nady when he hit Luevano after the bell sounded and sent the then champion crashing to the canvas. Luevano clearly over-acted as though he was badly hurt and retained the title on a 7th round disqualification.