Boxing


Yuriorkis Gamboa To Face Elio Rojas For Interim WBC Featherweight Title, Fight Goes To Purse Bids

by James Slater - Yuriorkis Gamboa, one of the most exciting and potentially great prospects in all of boxing right now, looks set to get his first shot at a world title some time next year - an interim version of one anyway. According to news regarding the WBC's upcoming purse bids, as reported on FightNews.com, a Gamboa-Elio Rojas bout will go to purse bids on December 19th this year..

Oscar Larios, the official WBC 126-pound champ, needs "time to recuperate," and therefore the Cuban defector and the man from The Dominican Republic will likely meet in the meantime. Who wins?

Gamboa, a superb amateur who won practically everything an unpaid fighter can, including an Olympic gold medal, has looked sensational as a pro thus far. Yes, the 26-year-old has been put down and he is no defensive wizard, but "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" has gotten up each time he's briefly been down, and upon doing so he's come blazing back. Comparable, in this respect, to the great Felix Trinidad, Gamboa, it seems, also comes back stronger after he's been hurt.

Only 12-0(10), the Cuban who now lives in Florida, has been straining at the leash and craving a world title shot since late 2007 (Gamboa only turned pro in April of 2007). Massively confident his speed, power and all-out aggression will see him to victory, this sensationally exciting fighter wants very much to prove himself at world level. Against Rojas, who now lives in Brooklyn, New York, he will get his chance.

Rojas, also 26, is a fine fighter himself. Not a huge, one-punch kind of guy, "The Kid" is more of a boxer/technician. Also a gifted amateur, who has a superb unpaid win over Juan Manuel Lopez to his name, Rojas has lost only once as a pro. Turning pro back in early 2003, he won his first 19 fights, before losing a July 2007 split decision to Gamaliel Diaz in the Mexican's home country. That fight was a WBC featherweight title fight eliminator and if Rojas had won he'd have faced Jorge Linares for the title. Fortunately for "The Kid," he was given another WBC elimination bout, which he won.

Coming back after over a year out after the Diaz loss, Rojas out-pointed another Mexican in Hector Velazquez, in his last fight, back in September. Now, with Larios out of action for the moment, it looks like Rojas will contest his first world title fight against Gamboa, who likewise will be having his initial shot at world glory - barring an upset loss suffered by the Cuban in his next scheduled fight on Jan 9th, that is.

This will be the toughest test yet for Gamboa, though it could be argued he will present Rojas with his toughest test also. The Cuban dynamo will almost certainly come out fast, looking for the KO as he always does. Rojas has done nothing to suggest he will be taken out quickly, however, and it's likely the fight will reach the later rounds. With Rojas being no monstrous puncher (only 13 KO's from his 20 wins) Gamboa will come forward all night - leaving the man from The Dominican Republic with the option of trying to out-box and, to a degree, out-class his foe.

Rojas is far from a household name and it's difficult predicting a fight involving a fighter you know little about. Having said that, it's equally hard to go against the massively ambitious Gamboa. Look for "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" to win his first world title with a fairly wide points victory.

Article posted on 26.11.2008



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