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Mexican Great Montiel Confronts His Next Challenger

Mexican Great Montiel Confronts His Next Challenger


CHIAPAS, Mexico - Five-time world champion Fernando "Kochulito" Montiel will return to the ring this Saturday, July 17 to defend his World Boxing Council (WBC) bantamweight championship against Rafael "Torito" Concepcion at the Palenque de la Feria en Tuxtla Guittierez, Chiapas, Mexico.            

Montiel (42-2-2, 31 KO's), of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico holds his titles in three different weight classes, including the World Boxing Organization (WBO) bantamweight belt. He will battle Concepción (14-2-2, 8 KO's), of Panama, in a "Top Rank Live" main event to be telecast live in the United States on Fox Sports en Español.            

Montiel became the WBC champion at 118 pounds last April 30, when he stopped Hozumi Hasewaga, of Japan, in the fourth round of a thrilling fight in Tokyo. Hasawaga was making his 11th title defense against the Mexican, whom most boxing analysts picked to lose.            

"It was a great victory in Japan," said Montiel, "and now it's time to celebrate here in Mexico, where I will be making my first defense in front of my fans against a tough opponent in Concepcion in what should be great fight."            

Montiel is hands-down one of the best Mexican boxers of all-time. He's won WBO world championships at 112, 115 (twice) and 118 pounds, and has a 17-2 record in World Championship fights.            

Said Montiel: "I have worked very hard to earn my place in boxing. I hope to continue at this level for many more fights. Mexican fans are behind me now, and I look forward to defending the WBC title in Chiapas."            

Montiel is one of the most complete fighters in the world--a great boxer with a solid punch. He has become more aggressive in the last few years, which has made him one of the most popular fighters in the world.            

This will be Montiel's third fight of the year. In February, he knocked out undefeated Filipino fighter Ciso Morales to retain his WBO Bantamweight crown. And on April 30, Montiel showed the full scope of his abilities when he stopped Hasewaga in front of an adoring--and eventually, stunned--crowd.            

Concepcion should be a tough opponent for Montiel, as the Panamanian has taken on quality opponents in his last few fights, including: former world champions Jorge "Travieso" Arce, Kermin Guardia, top contender A.J. Banal, and current champion Nonito Donaire.            

"I had a great training camp," Concepcion said. "Once I knew about this fight, I started getting ready for this fight because I know that I have the talent to win and take the belts back home to Panama."            

Concepcion won the World Boxing Asociation (AMB) super flyweight interim crown in July of 2008, when he surprised the young contender Banal. The Panamanian stopped the Filipino on his own turf in what remains the biggest win of his career.            

But in his first title defense in 2009, Concepcion lost his crown to Arce; many felt it was fight-of-year material. He tried to regain that belt in August of last year in Las Vegas, against Donaire, but could not make the weight and end up losing the fight on points to the Filipino star.            

In his most recent fight early this year in Panama, Concepcion took home a unanimous 10-round decision over Sergio Gomez.            

The other fights on the card promise action, too. Michael Medina (23-2, 18 KOs), of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, will take on Gilberto Flores (14-4, 10 KOs), of Mexico City, in a superwelter 10 round bout. World-ranked Reyes Sanchez (19-3-1, 11 KOs), of Mexico City, will battle Armando Robles (12-1, 7 KOs), of Mexicali, Mexico, for the Continental of the Americas lightweight belt in a 10 round bout.           

Also in a 10-round battle: Linda Sanchez (12-1, 5 KOs), of Veracruz, will take on Ibeth Zamora (8-2, 2 KOs), of Mexico City, for the WBC female straweight belt .

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