“This is what I always wanted to do, make my first world title defense in Omaha where I grew up,” said Crawford. “As soon as this fight was announced my phone and Facebook lit up. Everyone wants to be at this fight. This is extremely exciting, something I always dreamed about. Gamboa is fast and he hits with power. This is a serious fight. I fought and beat a lot of great fighters as an amateur.
” I was at 132 pounds then and Gamboa, as an amateur, was 112. But now we are about to go at it. I plan to train in Colorado Springs. During fight week, I will be away from the main fight hotel. It’ll be me and just my team to be by ourselves in the final days leading to the biggest fight of my life. It’s been a long ride to get here but at last my dream has come true. This will be a great action-packed fight.”
“I am glad to be back in the ring and continue my quest at being recognized as one the best in the sport,” said Gamboa. “I know that Crawford is a great talent and a good champion and I welcome the chance at beating one of the best in the lightweight division.
I know all about him. There is one major difference – my speed and my power. I am going right into his hometown because I know I will win. I want that title belt. Certainly by beating him, God willing – I know that bigger and better opportunities will come. It is time to remind fans all around the world that El Ciclon de Guantanamo is here for the long run.”
“When we made this fight Terence asked me to please make the tickets reasonable for all of his fans. We did exactly that at $102, $52 and $27,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. “He is so happy. This is a great event, the first big championship boxing event in over 40 years in this wonderful city Terence Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa are considered to be the two best lightweights in the world. We are looking forward to a great action fight.”
“After 42 years, it’s going to be a historical moment in Omaha. Gamboa and Crawford have identical records so it’s surely going to be an amazing showdown,” commented 50 Cent.
“This fight brings together two prodigious, undefeated talents,” said Peter Nelson, director of programming, HBO Sports. “A few months ago, Terence Crawford earned his first world title the hard way, traversing the Atlantic Ocean to beat down the then lightweight champ in his hometown in Scotland. Now, intrepid Cuban sensation Yuri Gamboa heads to Crawford’s own backyard of Omaha, attempting to wrest his second divisional title from the newly-crowned champ. As both men can tell you, there is no such thing as a hometown advantage against a straight right hand or a left hook from a man from out of town. The creativity of these two elite fighters pit against each other in the ring will undoubtedly elevate esteem for the winner with fans everywhere.”
“CenturyLink Center Omaha is proud to host this significant event,” said Roger Dixon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority (MECA). “Not only will we have a high-profile title fight, but the defending world champion is a hometown hero. This will truly be unprecedented for our venue and our community.”
Crawford (23-0, 16 KOs), of Omaha, is only the second Nebraska native to be recognized as a boxing world champion. Perry “Kid” Graves, from Rock Bluff, captured the welterweight crown, knocking out Johnny Alberts in Brooklyn, in 1914, according to the Omaha World-Herald. After a short but impressive amateur career, which included victories over future world champions Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia and one-time world title challenger Diego Magdaleno, Crawford made his professional debut on March 14, 2008 – a first-round knockout victory of Brian Cummings. On March 1, 2014 – just 13 days short of the sixth anniversary of his pro debut, Crawford captured the WBO lightweight title, dethroning defending champion Ricky Burns on Burns’ home turf of Glasgow, Scotland. Scoring a powerful and unanimous decision, Burns put the boxing world on notice that with his virtuoso performance. Crawford pulled out all stops in dismantling Burns as he rocked the defending champion throughout the fight, while switching back and forth between orthodox and southpaw stances.
Gamboa (23-0, 16 KOs), of Miami, Fla., captured Olympic gold for the Cuban team in 2004, fighting in the 112-pound division. Known as “The Cyclone of Guantanamo,” Gamboa defected to freedom in 2007 the same year he made his professional debut. Two years and 14 bouts later, in 2009, he won the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Interim Featherweight Championship via a 10th-round stoppage of Jose Rojas. Soon elevated to full world champion status, Gamboa successfully defended the WBA title five times during his two-year reign, which included unifying the title with a 12-round decision victory over International Boxing Federation (IBF) World Champion Orlando Salido. Gamboa captured the WBA Interim super featherweight title in 2012, winning a dominant unanimous decision over Michael Farenas. In his last fight, on June 8, 2013, Gamboa captured the WBA Interim lightweight title, handing undefeated Darleys Perez, a former Colombian Olympian, his first professional defeat. Gamboa scored the unanimous decision victory by outboxing and outworking Perez throughout their fight.