The Philippines Bernabe Concepcion retained his North American Boxing Federation super bantamweight title with a close but unanimous decision against a game Juan Ruiz on Top Rank promoter Bob Arum’s “Latin Fury” fight card in Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico Sunday morning, Manila Time.
Judging by the reports Viva Sports/Manila Standard Today received, the 20 year old Concepcion who won the title with an explosive fourth round TKO over the highly-touted Gabriel Elizondo on August 4 last year was not particularly impressive although he won by a unanimous decision.
Two judges had the Filipino the winner 114-112 while a third judge scored it for Concepcion 114-111 despite two point deductions slapped on the fighter of Aljoe Jaro . Ruiz was also deducted two points in what was described as a sometimes brutal, foul-riddled but entertaining title bout. Concepcion appeared sharper than Ruiz who resorted to rushing tactics in an effort to upset the rhythm of the 20 year old Filipino who was nine years younger.
With the win, his first in Mexico following three earlier wins in the US, Concepcion improved his record to 24-1-1 with 13 knockouts while the busy Ruiz who bored in and tried to work inside dropped to 21-5 with 6 knockouts. It was Ruiz’s third consecutive loss.
Posts on the philboxing.com forum indicated disappointment over the performance of Concepcion who was being built up as a possible future world champion. There were claims that Concepcion was not in great physical shape and his corner took nearly 30 seconds to provide a stool for the fighter in-between rounds and didn’t know how to have him counter the inside attacks of Ruiz.
Concepcion made his US debut on April 14 last year when he scored a unanimous ten round decision over Benjamin Flores in San Antonio, Texas on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jorge Solis fight card. After winning the NABF title laat August 4, Concepcion scored an impressive ninth round TKO over Salvador Garcia when referee Robert Byrd called a halt at 0:47 of the round.