LONDON (June 26) – World champion Terence Crawford is hoping victory this Saturday night against “cocky” Yuriorkis Gamboa will kick start his path to greatness.
The WBO lightweight champion got his first taste of world title success when he overcame Scotland’s Ricky Burns earlier this year, with his first title defence taking place this weekend against the unbeaten Gamboa, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
The Omaha, Nebraska native, however, is not merely content with having achieved a lifelong dream by becoming a world champion but has his eyes on bigger prizes as he looks to establish himself as one of boxing’s biggest names.
“Of course being a world champion is going to fill you with confidence but that’s a short term goal – being a world champion. Now it’s about becoming a marquee fighter that everyone wants to see and that everyone acknowledges is a great fighter,” Crawford told BoxNation.
“Gamboa is a great fighter in his own right and for me to be in the ring with him shows where I’m at in my career. I didn’t get into this game to just fight for wins. Of course I’m in it to win it but to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.
“I feel like I’m the best lightweight out there in the world, everybody thinks he’s one of the best lightweights in the world and that’s why we’re fighting. I’m getting the victory. I feel like it’s going to be a tough fight but I will be victorious,” said a confident Crawford.
The 26-year-old has admitted that his fight with the Cuban Gamboa will likely be his last at the 135 pound weight class, as he looks to move up following nearly ten years as a lightweight.
“This is probably going to be my last fight at 135 pounds before moving up. My long term goal is to eventually move up to 147 and remain one of the best up there after fighting at 140 pounds,” said Crawford.
“I’ve been a lightweight for a long time, ever since I was 16, so my body has grown a lot and my last few fights it’s got a little hard on me [to make weight]. So this will probably be my last fight at lightweight,” he said.
The 32-year-old Gamboa goes into the fight with the slick Crawford as an Olympic gold medalist and former WBA and IBF featherweight world champion.
This weekend’s bout, though, will be taking place on the reigning champion’s home soil where he will fight in Omaha for the first time as a professional.
“I can’t describe the feeling [of fighting as a world champion in Omaha] because this is the moment I’ve been asking for and been waiting for. Now that it’s here, come fight night I’m going to put it all on the line,” said Crawford.
“He needs to be ready for whatever I bring. I’m going to bring a few things to the table that I’m going to show on Saturday. I see the fight going in my favour and feel this is my time and I’m not going to take no for an answer.
“Everybody knows he has fast hands and can box well but his downfall is that he’s too cocky. I can make adjustments for any fighter and fight my fight so that I’m the one in there that’s in charge,” he stated.
The American could have opted for an easier route in his first defence rather than such a stringent challenge against someone as skilled as Gamboa, but the fact it was such an intriguing matchup for fight fans made it an easy decision for Crawford.
“I never call out anybody. I never choose anybody. I just fight whoever they would like me to fight. And everybody from the outside looking in said this was a great fight so I just want to put on great fights for the fans, and this is a fight that the fans want to see,” said Crawford.
Crawford vs. Gamboa is live on BoxNation (Sky 437/490HD & Virgin 546) this Saturday night. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.