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Is Yuriorkis Gamboa a Cyclone About to Peter Out?

J.J. Alvarez

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Three years after the conclusion of an incredible amateur career, which included a gold medal from the Athens 2004 Olympics, the Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa entered the sport of professional boxing with the ferocity of a hurricane. His punching power and fighting style allowed him to conquer the 126 lb. title in only 2 years.

But as time went on, the “Ciclón de Guantánamo” (“The Guantanamo Cyclone”) lost his compass inside and outside of the ring. Now approaching the age of 37, there is an uncertainty around his career – perhaps he is close to retirement – even though he remains optimistic regarding his upcoming fight against the Mexican Miguel Beltrán Jr. (33-6-0, 22 KOs) on the 10th of November at the Miami-Dade County Fair & Expo in Miami.

Facing a rival seven years younger, and with an unclear future in the sport, Gamboa must do more than simply emerge victorious in his next fight. His future is hanging on by a thread and this could be his last battle inside the sport of prizefighting.

His career began with a spectacular knockout in the 3rd round against Alexander Manvelyan on April 27th of 2007, in Hamburg, Germany. This victory occurred after leaving his homeland for 6 months to train in Brazil and prepare for the Pan American games in Río de Janeiro.

Gamboa in Miami

“He’s regaining his explosiveness and I think he’s headed down the right path in order to once again achieve stardom,” said trainer Pedro “Peter” Roque to a group of reporters at Tropical Park Gym, in Miami. Roque continued, “He had an excellent preparation and is in superb conditions physically, technically and in health”.

The Cuban born Gamboa added two victories to his record last year, both by majority decision. The most recent being against the American Jason “El Canito” Sosa, November 25th of 2017 at the Madison Square Garden Theatre in New York.

There in the Big Apple, and on other occasions over the course of 11 years in the sport of boxing, Gamboa once tasted the canvas in the 7th round and once had a point deducted in the 10th for repeatedly clinching his opponent. Three months before, Gamboa had won again by majority decision against the young Mexican Alexis “Baby” Reyes, at the Grand Oasis Arena in Cancun, Mexico. This time he had three points deducted due to technical fouls in the 5th, 8th, and 9th rounds.

“We’ve worked on a lot of technical aspects, mainly keeping his left hand up while he’s on the offensive,” affirmed Carlos Gamboa, the father of Yuriorkis. “On many occasions, he goes towards his opponent and isn’t defending himself with that hand”.

The bout between the former multiple world champion Gamboa and the Aztec Beltran Jr. will take place on the fair grounds of the Tamiami Park and not inside the Marlins Park Stadium, as was previously announced. Sources close to the event’s organizers say that the baseball installments demanded a costly insurance that was “impossible to pay”.

This will be Gamboa’s big opportunity to compete in front of the enormous Cuban community within Miami. This is the closest he’s been to fighting in front of his exiled compatriots since October of 2007, when he defeated the Brazilian Adailton “Precipicio” De Jesus at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, which neighbors Miami-Dade.

Beltran Jr., in his most recent fight, this past September 14th in Culiacan, Mexico, won by knockout in the first round against his co-national Misael “El Toro” Muñoz. Referee Leonardo Bermúdez called a stop to the contest with only 2 seconds left. However, not much can be said of Beltran Jr.’s victory, considering Muñoz has an abysmal professional record of 14 losses, all by knockout, and has never tasted the sweetness of victory.

Gamboa’s executioners: Crawford and Castellanos

Gamboa conquered the WBA World Featherweight title with a spectacular knockout in the 4th round against the Panamanian Wyler Garcia on October 10th of 2009 at Madison Square Garden. The following year, on September 11th, the Cuban acquired the vacant IBF World Featherweight title when he unanimously defeated the Mexican Orlando “Siri” Salido at the Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas. Gamboa fell to the canvas in the 8th round, but Salido tasted the same medicine on more than one occasion in the 12th.

Four years later, Gamboa made the mistake of taking on one of the world’s pound for pound best, the American Terence “Bud” Crawford in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska at the Century Link. Gamboa had only fought once in the 135 lb. division before crossing paths with Crawford, a born puncher who constantly changes his stance and creates tactical uncertainty amongst his opponents. As an appetizer to the unforgettable match against Crawford, The “Guantanamo Cyclone” unanimously defeated the Colombian Darleys Pérez, June 8th of 2013 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada, where Gamboa raised the Interim WBA World Lightweight title.

Motivated by his success thus far of 23 victories (17 by way of knockout and 6 by unanimous decision), Gamboa went up against Crawford, who gave him a beat down, including knockdowns in the 5th, 8th and a few more times in the 9th.  This resulted in referee Genaro Rodríguez bringing an end to the massacre at 2:53 of said round. With this victory, the North American retained his WBO World Lightweight title.

Six months later, Gamboa returned victorious, winning by TKO in the 6th round against Joel Montes de Oca. His streak continued, defeating Hylon Williams Jr. and René Alvarado, both by unanimous decision over the course of 10 rounds. But in his next contest, Gamboa arrived in poor physical condition and was mauled by the Mexican Robinson “Robin Hood” Castellanos at the luxurious MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Considering the records of both fighters, Gamboa was a big favorite to defeat Castellanos, who was 23-12 at the time. However, the Cuban came into the fight lacking speed and adequate preparation. In the 3rd round, a straight right hand knocked down Gamboa.  The following rounds consisted of more of the same, and with little or nothing left to offer, and without any possibility of changing the course of the fight, Gamboa’s corner conceded defeat before resuming the 7th round.

Gamboa and his two trainers, Pedro Roque and Carlos Gamboa, are optimistic regarding the upcoming fight against Beltrán, Jr. This will be a great opportunity to see if the Cuban’s winds are still in full force or if this cyclone is about to peter out. We will see.

Translated by E.G. for J.J. Alvarez of Boxeo.tv

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http://forum.ib.tv/forum/forum/boxing/11265-is-yuriorkis-gamboa-a-cyclone-about-to-wane

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HITS and MISSES: Post-Thanksgiving Weekend Edition

Kelsey McCarson

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It was another massive weekend in boxing. There were big fights on pay-per-view that maybe shouldn’t have been so big, and fights surrounded by lesser fanfare that will probably be looked back at as the more meaningful action by future historians.

Here are the biggest HITS and MISSES from another week on the boxing beat.

HIT: Mike Tyson, Roy Jones and the Unifying Power of Boxing

Whatever you think about the boxing exhibition bout between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones, Jr. on Saturday night, the most important aspect of the whole night (to this writer at least) was seeing how easily a big fight in boxing could still unify our culture.

No, it wasn’t a legitimate prizefight, but people still wanted to see the 54-year-old Tyson go a few rounds with the 51-year-old Jones, and that’s exactly what they got. It was a ride built mostly around the power of nostalgia, and it featured all sorts of present-day celebrities, too.

By the end of things, it seemed the general reaction to the event on social media was positive.

Tyson vs. Jones showed how big a reach boxing still has. Tyson retired over 15 years ago, but people from all over the planet were still willing to pay $50 to watch him climb inside the ropes for a sparring session.

Seeing that left me with two exciting questions.

What awesome power will boxing’s next superstar have?

More importantly, where is he (or she) anyway?

MISS: Ring Announcer’s Steve Harvey Moment 

In 2015, comedian Steve Harvey accidentally announced the wrong winner of the Miss Universe pageant. As humiliating as that event was for Harvey, just imagine how the two women felt after having their hearts filled and slashed by his error.

That same thing sort of happened on Friday night when Danny Jacobs beat Gabriel Rosado via split decision in a 168-pound stay-busy fight streamed by DAZN.

Ring announcer Jeremiah Gallegos accidentally said the winner hailed from Philadelphia (where Rosado is from) before quickly changing it back to Brooklyn (where Jacobs is from).

So momentarily, the hard-luck Rosado, who never has been the beneficiary of a close decision in any important fight, thought he had just pulled off the upset of the year.

Instead, Jacobs was corrected as the winner and that had to be an awful experience for both fighters, one that was completely avoidable.

HIT: Joe Joyce: An Actual Juggernaut?

Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce is a popular fighter on the other side of the ocean because of his long and successful campaign as an amateur boxing star which culminated with Joyce winning the silver medal for Great Britain in the super heavyweight division at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Still, as a professional prospect, there are lots of things not to like about Joyce. First, Joyce didn’t start boxing until he was 22. Late bloomers come around now and then, but they’re still a rarity in the sport. Second, Joyce is already 35, which means he’s already just outside the confines of his theoretical physical prime, something that ends around 33 years old and only gets worse. Finally, Joyce is just plain slow as molasses.

Regardless, Joyce stopped fellow Brit Daniel Dubois on Saturday in London.

Unlike Joyce, Dubois, 23, possesses plenty of attributes one looks for in a future world champion. But none of those things helped Dubois win the fight.

All this to say Joyce just keeps winning fights. Sure, he might appear to be a boulder tumbling slowly down a hill when he fights, but that rock is starting to gain some real momentum.

HIT: 54-1

Thailand’s Wanheng Menayothin finally lost a fight over the weekend, but it should be noted that at least the fighter finally knows his limits.

Menayothin (aka Chayaphon Moonsri) entered his fight against Petchmanee CP Freshmart (aka Panya Pradabsri) with a sterling record of 54-0. He left the contest 54-1 after judges rendered their verdict for the challenger.

Much was made of Menayothin’s glossy win streak last year when he surpassed retired boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 mark. But a combat sports culture obsessed with suffering no blemishes on a record is only a relatively new phenomenon. Moreover, the very nature of that path through the sport never reveals the true limits of a fighter.

All this to say that Menayothin now gets a better sense of his limits, and the boxing world as a whole gets to know that same thing about him, too. That’s wildly better than the alternative.

MISS: Nate Robinson Challenge

If you missed the Tyson vs. Jones pay-per-view event on Triller over the weekend, you didn’t see social media star Jake Paul’s viral knockout of ex-NBA star Nate Robinson.

It was clear from the start of the fight that Paul and Robinson weren’t evenly matched. That kind of thing happens all the time in boxing, of course, but here was a case of a person (Robinson) who maybe had been so mismatched against Paul that it was too dangerous to have happened at all.

Regardless, Robinson did have the courage to train for the fight and step inside the ropes on fight night.

After he was knocked out, something called the “Nate Robinson Challenge” started trending on Twitter, and it was basically people from all over the world trolling the 3-time NBA dunking champ for getting knocked out in the fight.

Look, Robinson made his own bed by calling for the fight in the first place. But the Internet trolls that rag people for stepping outside their comfort zones probably would never dare to attempt that accomplishment themselves.

Robinson tried and failed. That’s the real challenge.

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Tyson and Jones Box to an Unofficial Draw in a Predictable Stinker

Arne K. Lang

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The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an American institution, went belly-up in 2017, but a different kind of circus played to an empty house at the Staples Center in Los Angeles tonight. The main attraction wasn’t Jumbo the elephant but Iron Mike Tyson in his first ring appearance in 15 years. In the opposite corner was Roy Jones Jr, who at age 51 was the younger man by three years.

Tyson vs. Jones was the main piece of a 4-hour boxing and music festival live-streamed in the U.S. on the TysononTriller.com app at a list price of $49.95. This was the first live event on “Triller” which allows people to create their own music videos and was designed as a rival to China-owned TikTok, one of the biggest recent success stories in the internet world.

The California State Athletic Commission, which sanctioned the match, insisted that Tyson vs. Jones would be an exhibition. They would fight 8 two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves and if there were a knockdown, the referee would not give a count and the bout would or would not continue at his discretion. The rounds would not be scored and no winner would be named.

Of course, the promoter chafed at these restraints and did his best to create the impression that this was a legitimate prizefight. Retired boxers Vinny Pazienza, Chad Dawson, and Christy Martin were lassoed to serve as judges, scoring the fight from a remote location, and the WBC commissioned an honorary belt to present to the winner.

The advance hype was enormous. A clickbait-obsessed media lapped it up including photoshop-enhanced images of Mike Tyson’s physique.

In the second round, Tyson landed a double left hook and that was the only indelible moment in the match. By the third round, both looked and sounded tired and by the sixth round Jones was thoroughly gassed out and took to clinching to make it to the final bell.

For the record, the scores were 79-73 for Tyson (Martin), 80-76 for Jones (Pazienza), and 76-76 (Dawson). On the internet, the clear consensus was that Tyson had the best of it.

Mike Tyson, 50-6, 2 NC (44 KOs) last fought in June of 2005 when he was stopped by third-rater Kevin McBride. Roy Jones (66-9, 47 KOs) was active as recently as 2018 and won his last four, but against hand-picked opponents including a boxer making his pro debut. His last fight of significance came in 2011 when he was brutally KOed by Dennis Lebedev in Moscow.

Jones, who weighed 210 ½ tonight, weighed 157 when he made his pro debut in 1989. In his prime, he was pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world, but that was back in the previous century.

Both fighters were reportedly guaranteed $1 million with Tyson’s take potentially reaching $10 million if certain financial targets were met.

Other Bouts

YouTube sensation Jake Paul, who we reluctantly concede has more than a modicum of talent in the fisticuffing department, knocked out Nate Robinson in the second round and it was a clean knockout with Robinson knocked out cold. The 36-year-old Robinson, the former NBA point guard who was a three-time slam dunk champion during his 11-year NBA career, is a well-rounded athlete, good enough to start as a cornerback in football during his freshman year at the University of Washington, but his athleticism didn’t translate to the squared circle as he looked like a common bar brawler.

Former two-division belt-holder Badou Jack (22-3-4), who said he appeared on the card as a favor to his friend Mike Tyson, was a clear-cut winner over hard-trying but out-classed Blake McKernan in an 8-round cruiserweight match.

At age 37, Jack’s career is winding down. He tipped the scales at 188 ¾, 14 pounds more than in his previous engagement vs. Jean Pascal. McKernan, a natural cruiserweight from Sacramento, was undefeated coming in (13-0), but was in over his head against Jack, a former Olympian and veteran of seven world title fights.

In a good action fight, Worcester, Massachusetts lightweight Jamaine Ortiz, a carpenter by trade, improved to 14-0 (8) with a seventh-round stoppage of Sulaiman Segawa (13-3-1), a Maryland-based Ugandan.

In the first bout on the program, Fort Worth featherweight Edward Vazquez improved to 9-0 (1) with an 8-round split decision over Jamaine Ortiz stablemate Irvin Gonzalez (14-3).

Heavyweight Juiseppe “Joe” Cusumano improved to 19-3 (17) with a sixth-round stoppage of late sub Gregory Corbin (15-4). It was the fourth straight loss for the 40-year-old Corbin who came in at a beefy 291 ¾ pounds.

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Fast Results from London: Joe Joyce Stops Daniel Dubois in the 10th

Arne K. Lang

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The historic Church House which sits in the shadow of Westminster Abbey was the site of tonight’s clash in London between unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce. The bout lacked the gloss of a world title fight, but didn’t need it. The oft-postponed match, originally slated for the 02 Arena in London on April 11 with promoter Frank Warren anticipating a sellout, was fairly hyped as the most anticipated fight since Fury-Wilder II which was the last big fight before the coronavirus clampdown.

Dubois, 15-0 with 14 KOs heading in, was a consensus 7/2 favorite in man-to-man betting, He was younger, faster and punched harder, but ultimately it would be his “O” that had to go. Joe Joyce, an inch taller at six-foot-six and 15 pounds heavier at 259, emerged victorious with a 10th-round stoppage in what was a good back-and-forth fight with a divided opinion as to who had the edge through the completed rounds.

Joyce really didn’t do much but throw a jab, but he landed that jab consistently and it was a hard, thudding jab that caused Dubois’s left eye to start swelling during the mid-rounds of the fight. The damaged eye eventually shut and when Joyce reached it with another hard jab in the 10th, Dubois surrendered by taking a knee. The presumption was that he had suffered a broken orbital bone.

The 35-year-old Joyce, nicknamed Juggernaut, is of Scotch-Irish and Nigerian descent. He lost by split decision to Tony Yoka in the semifinals of the 2016 Olympics and had to settle for a silver medal. Prior to turning pro, he was 12-1 in the semi-pro World Series of Boxing with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Oleksandr Usyk. With today’s career-defining win, he upped his pro ledger to 12-0 (11).

Other Bouts

Top-rated WBC super lightweight contender Jack Catterall (26-0) won a predictably one-sided 10-round triumph over 33-year-old Tunisian Abderrazak Houya (14-3). Catterall scored two knockdowns en route to winning by a 99-90 score. This was a stay-busy fight for the Lancashire man who was the mandatory challenger for title-holder Jose Carlos Ramirez and accepted step-aside money with the promise that he would meet the winner of the unification fight between Ramirez and Josh Taylor which is expected to come off in February.

The lead-in fight was a 10-round contest in the super welterweight division between 21-year-old Hamzah Sheeraz and 33-year-old Guido Nicolas Pitto. The fight was monotonous until Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KOs) kicked it into a higher career in the final stanza and brought about the stoppage. Pitto, from Spain by way of Argentina, declined to 26-8-2. The official time was 1:11 of round 10.

In an 8-round cruiserweight bout, Jack Massey improved to 17-1 (8) with a 79-74 referee’s decision over Mohammad Ali Farid (16-2-1). Massey was making his first start since losing a close 12-round decision to Richard Raikporhe in December of 2019 for the vacant BBBofC title. The well-traveled, one-dimensional Farid had scored 16 knockouts in his previous 18 fights while answering the bell for only 33 rounds.

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