By Robert Coster
Panama, the perennial hotbed of fistic talent and tradition, went through another year of exceptional boxing activity with an average of two shows per month while counting presently four world champions, five dynamic promotional companies and new young stars coming forward. Boxing is alive and well in the land of Roberto Duran and the stats prove it.
Boxing cards: There were 24 boxing shows this year, nine in the capital city, three shows featured title bouts. The famous “KO to Drugs” festival presented by Promociones y Eventos del Istmo (Rogelio Espino) featured for the first time three Panamanians boxing in world title bouts.
The Champions: There are presently four reigning Panamanian world champions: Guillermo Jones, Celestino Caballero, Ricardo Cordoba and Anselmo Moreno. A fifth champion, super-Flyweight Rafael “El Torito” Concepcion won the the WBA interim belt in the Philippines but later lost it to Jorge Arce.
The Promoters: There were 5 promotional companies which presented international boxing shows: Producciones y Eventos del Istmo (Rogelio Espino), Premium Boxing Promotions (Villarreal and partners), Sunshine Box Promotion, Boxing Entertainment Corporation and Cornejo Producciones. Rogelio Espino presented two world title cards while Hector Villarreal’s Premium Boxing offered one.
The Stars: Featherweight Roinet Caballero, Ricardo Nunez (jr bantamweight), Joel Cerrud (lightweight), Luis “El Nica” Concepcion (jr bantam), Walter Trillo (strawweight), Irving Berry (featherweight) are ranked boxers knocking on the door of title contention for the coming year.
New local talent: It is abundant in Panama. We can name Loel Barrantes (6-0, 140lbs), Alberto Mosquera (9-0, 140 lbs), Gabriel Dorado (8-0, 125 lbs), Antonio Fernandez (7-1-1, 125 lbs), Luis Rios (6-0, 105 lbs), Eric Castro (6-0, 135 lbs), Julio Caamano (6-0, 135 lbs) and the list doesn’t stop here.
Foreign talent: Panama has opened its doors to foreign boxers who wish to pursue their career there because of training conditions and the boxing boom. Prospects Nicholas Walters (7-0, 135lbs) of Jamaica and Evens Pierre (5-0, 135lbs) of Haiti are both signed by Premium Boxing Promotions which promises to import new talent from everywhere.