By Ricardo Conde
WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez (28-0, 25 KOs) of Puerto Rico will step back into the ring on Saturday, July 10th to make his first title defense against Bernabe “The Real Deal” Concepcion (28-3-1, 15 KOs) of the Philippines at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. Lopez vs. Concepcion “The Challenge” will be televised live on SHOWTIME and is being promoted by Top Rank, in association with PR Best Boxing. Tickets are on sale and are priced at $400, $200, $150, $75, $50 and $35 and are available at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico box office and thru Ticketpop by calling (787) 294-0001. We had a moment to sit down and talk to Juan Manuel “Juanma” Lopez as he prepares for his upcoming bout, here’s what he had to say…
You’re currently preparing for your next fight, which will be against Bernabe Concepcion, what do you know about your opponent and have you seen any videos of his fights and what’s your opinion of him as a fighter?
I’ve seen videos of his fights and I’ve seen him fight in person before. He’s a tremendous fighter, a very strong fighter and he has a style similar to Manny Pacquiao. We’re going to have to be in great condition and come in very strong to be able to dominate in the fight.
How is training camp going?
Training camp is going great; we’re at about 60% of the preparation. We’ll end up being in training camp for about two months so right now we’re taking it day by day so there will be no complications during training.
What kind of statement are you looking to make in your fight with Bernabe Concepcion, are you going to look for the knockout?
Well, we’re going to take it round by round and if the knockout comes then it comes. I don’t think the fight will go the distance because I’m a lot stronger than he is, but we’ll take it round by round and if the knockout presents itself then we’ll take advantage of it and go for the knockout.
Should you get past Bernabe Concepcion, is there anyone you’d like to fight next, name one or two fighters you’d like to face in the near future?
Well, there’s a lot of fighters I’d like to face in the near future but one that I’d like is the winner of Vazquez/Marquez, so we’ll talk to my promoter and see if we can get that fight made sometime.
This bout will take place at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds, do you plan on staying at 126 or will you be moving up to 130?
We’ll be staying at 126 for a while; I’d like to move up to 130 but not right now. For now we’ll stay at 126.
What is your opinion of the current featherweight division?
It’s a great division to be in; there are a lot of tremendous fighters in this division right now like Yuriorkis Gamboa, Celestino Caballero, Chris John, and Juanma Lopez. So there are a lot of great fighters out there and we’ll do out best to fight all of them.
What are some of your goals for the rest of the year?
My goal is to fight the best in the division and come out on top and then hopefully move up to 130 and do the same there.
Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
Of course, I’d like to thank everyone for all their support and hopefully you continue to follow me throughout my career. God bless all of you and thank you for everything.