Boxing

Can Yuriorkis Gamboa Become The First Man To Stop Bernabe Concepcion?

by James Slater - Fresh off his impressive and relatively easy night's work against Whyber Garcia, who he KO'd in the 4th-round of his Madison Square Garden debut back on October 10th, WBA featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa is now preparing to meet Bernabe Concepcion, the 21-year-old from The Philippines.

Set to once again appear in a double-header with scheduled future opponent Juan Manuel Lopez, the exciting Cuban will be going up against a man who has never once been stopped as a pro. Can 27-year-old Gamboa make a statement by becoming the first fighter to KO Concepcion?

The double-header (with Lopez still down as meeting an as yet TBA opponent) is designed to drum up more hype with regards to the eventual Gamboa Vs. Lopez showdown, which will almost certainly happen next year. And as long as Gamboa and "Juanma" keep winning and keep providing the fans with the kind of excitement they gave us when they had their double-header debut earlier this month, the clash of unbeaten 126-pounders (Lopez is almost sure to move up to 126 after his way tougher than expected war with Rogers Mtagwa last time out; his near loss being blamed primarily on having struggled to make 122) will be one of 2010's real highlights.

We don't yet know who the Puerto Rican sensation will face in the two explosive fighters' next shared card, set for Lopez' home country on January 23rd - so we can't predict whether or not he'll keep the O at the end of his record (there is, however, a rumour he may make his move up to 126 and challenge WBO featherweight champ Steve Luevano). But we can make a prediction as to how Gamboa will get on on January 23rd, when he faces Concepcion - Concepcion, ironically being the last man Luevano faced.

A pro since the age of 16, the 21-year-old with the 27-3-1(15) record was disqualified in his last fight, the one with Luevano, for hitting after the bell at the end of the 7th-round. The challenger was doing pretty well in the fight held in Las Vegas back in August, with the fight being close on all judges score cards before the DQ occurred. A good fighter, with decent power and a good chin, Concepcion has also been very active since turning pro down at 110-pounds back in 2004. Young, hungry and dangerous, the man from The Philippines will likely give Gamboa a harder fight than Garcia did earlier this month.

Having said that, it's tough to see the Cuban defector losing his perfect record, his title and his big money fight with Lopez. Possessing blurring hand speed and lethal one-punch KO power, the 16-0(14) champion will have too much for the younger man. The fight, which will see both men having their Puerto Rican debuts, should be interesting and fan-friendly while it lasts - and, as will seemingly always be the case when Gamboa fights, his lapses in defence could allow Concepcion to get lucky - but the champion has to be a big favourite to win.

Will Gamboa, the taller man by and inch-and-a-half, become the first man to stop Concepcion? I think so, somewhere in the later rounds.

Article posted on 21.10.2009



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