Earlier today at Watanabe Boxing Gym, the most illustrious gym in Japan, the two fighters met with the press. Both said they were confident of victory, but each man respects his opponent.
Kono said that Concepcion “is perhaps the most dangerous rival of my boxing career,” before going on to make a prediction.
“Win or lose,” he said, “the fight will end by knockout.”
The champion has only 13 knockouts in his 41-fight career, as compared with Concepcion’s 24 knockouts in 38 fights, so it looks, at least on paper, as if “Nica” has an advantage in the KO department. But Kono will not easily be deterred.
“My best weapons are my durability and tenacity,” he said. “I throw punches all-out in pursuit of victory, and throw punches with even more enthusiasm in the last half of the fight. Concepcion is a good opponent who I intend to overcome to prove I am the best.”
Concepcion is no less confident than Kono. He said his preparation has been superb. He has studied videos of Kono and believes he knows how to beat the champ. “Nica” expects to return to Panama with Kono’s black and gold belt around his waist.
“He is a great fighter and I respect him a lot,” said Concepcion. “The weakness of Kohei Kono is that he starts slowing down in the latter part of his fights. He gets careless and drops his guard.”
If and when Kono drops his guard, expect Concepcion to make his move.
The referee for Kohei Kono vs. Luis Concepcion will be Luis Pabon (PR). The three judges are Stanley Christodoulou (RSA), Melva Santos (PR), and Phillip Verbeke (BEL). The WBA supervisor will be Robert Mack (US).