This Friday, Yuriorkis Gamboa Goes For His First World Title On Showtime

13.04.09 - by James Slater - This coming Friday, on a show to be televised by Showtime, Cuban hotshot Yuriorkis Gamboa - a fighter many see as a potential superstar due to his amazingly exciting style - challenges for what he hopes will be the first in a number of world titles. Going in with 36-year-old Venezuelan southpaw Jose Rojas, Gamboa will attempt to capture the interim version of the WBA featherweight crown (Chris John being the "real" WBA champ.).

A pro only since April of 2007, the 27-year-old Cuban defector who won gold at the 2004 Olympics games held in Athens, has enthralled the fans with his power, speed and overall ability. Gamboa has also proved a hit with fight fans due to the somewhat reckless regard he has for defence. Due to his all-out aggressive style, combined with a suspect chin, Gamboa has shown vulnerability and he has been put down on a few occasions as a result. This has all served to make "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" even more thrilling to watch.

Currently 14-0(12) as a pro, Gamboa has been matched quickly and now he has the chance to become a world ruler (even if it's only an interim ruler). Rojas, a decent puncher himself at 25-6-1(17), holds the edge in experience and he cannot be looked at as a mere stepping stone for Gamboa to beat to become world champion.

A pro since way back in July of 1989, Rojas has met a number of top class super-bantamweights and featherweights. After only thirteen pro fights, three of them back-to-back losses, "Cheo" met countryman and defending WBA super-bantamweight champ Antonio Cermeno in September of 1997. Losing on points, Rojas nevertheless gave a good account of himself, especially after having had so few pro fights.

Six wins later, Rojas fought the then vacant WBA 122 pound belt - this time being KO'd in 4 rounds by countryman Yober Ortega (Rojas' sole KO defeat). This KO defeat came in late 2001, and since then Rojas has continued to compete against good men, but up at featherweight. Two notable fights came against current WBA 126-pound king Chris John of Indonesia. Rojas fought a technical draw with "The Dragon" in December of 2004, the fight being stopped in the 4th round due to a head clash. When the two met again in March of 2007, the fight went the full distance, despite the challenger being put down twice early on. Losing a UD, Rojas has fought, and won, just one fight since.

Coming into the Gamboa fight after his March 2008 3rd round TKO of the then 1-9-1 Rafael Castillo as he is, will the 36-year-old be ready for someone as fast and powerful as Gamboa? On his day, Rojas is a good and capable fighter, but age and inactivity will be against him on Friday night in Primm, Nevada. Sure, there is always the chance Gamboa will get chinned and put down again, but the younger and some would say hungrier man must be made a big favourite to win, even when taking into account his dodgy chin and poor defence.

As powerful late in a fight as he is early in one, Gamboa should stop Rojas at some point. In fact, it would not be a huge surprise if the 27-year-old stopped Rojas in the very first round (Yuriorkis has six 1st round KO's to his name already).

It will surely be lively on Friday, but the fight doesn't figure to last too long. I go for Gamboa to win his first world title inside four rounds.

Article posted on 12.04.2009

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