Öner: "Gamboa will be World Champion next year!"

14.08.07 - On September 21st, 2007 arena will make it a dozen in Lübeck’s „Hanse-Halle“. Just one year after promoting his first show in Hamburg arena-CEO Ahmet Öner will present his 12th event. At arena’s first night on September 9th 2006 reigning WBC International Middleweight Champion Mahir “The Lion” Oral had knocked out Dirk Dzemski from Magdeburg to win the EBU EU-Championship.

Meanwhile arena presented a big bundle of great events including the return of professional boxing to Turkey with a great show in Ankara featuring the WBC International Heavyweight Championship Sinan Samil Sam vs. Oliver McCall.

What does the CEO think of the fast development of his young company? Can arena keep the impressive pace of its first year?

Öner: “No, we won’t go on that fast – we will proceed even faster! There will be more than 12 events in our second year and although we already had some great shows we will present better boxing as well.”

What are the plans in detail?

Öner: “There will be four more arena-shows this year, starting with our RISING STARS show in Lübeck on September 21st. After that we will have events in October, November and December.”

Will they all take place in Germany?

Öner: “No, we will go to another country for one night at least.”

The summer weeks have been dominated by news regarding Guillermo Rigondeaux and Erislandy Lara (who defected from their national team and have been brought back to Cuba now). Are you still in contact with those two boxers?

Öner: “No, we haven’t been in contact with Rigondeaux and Lara after they went back to Cuba. To us it’s obvious that they didn’t go back voluntarily. They and their families have been set under enormous pressure by Fidel Castro and his regime. It’s a shame that the great careers of those fantastic athletes have come to an end that way. We all just hope that they are treated fairly and that there are no more reprisals on Cuba.”

How do you proceed with the other three Cuban Olympic Champions who fight for arena?

Öner: “Odlanier Solis, Yuriorkis Gamboa and Yan Barthelemy will get lots of fights so that they rise quickly in the World rankings. Gamboa is already ranked within the Top 40 in the WBC – after only three professional fights! I don’t think that anybody went through the roof like that ever before!”

Which one of those three will be the first one to get a shot at the World Championship?

Öner: “That will probably be Gamboa as well. His next fight will be on September 2nd in Berlin, after that we will present all three of them on our own show in Lübeck.”

When will Gamboa be ready for a title shot?

Öner: “If he stays healthy and doesn’t get injured I am sure that he will be World Champion by the end of next year.”

What about the other arena-boxers?

Öner: “Solis and Barthelemy will definitely become World Champions as well. They just need some time to get in shape for long distances. I bet that there is nobody in the world today who could beat Solis in a 4- or 6-rounder. Regarding upcoming title shots you should never underestimate Juan Carlos Gomez. He is in awesome shape, working very hard and getting better with every fight. Juan is currently ranked on No. 5 by the WBC. We are doing all we can to give him a shot at the World Championship. Maybe there is a chance that he fights Vitali Klitschko on his way to the belt. That would be a hell of a match and I am convinced that Juan would win it!”

Article posted on 14.08.2007

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