Exclusive Interview: Yuriorkis Gamboa

By Ryan Burton


Exclusive Interview:  Yuriorkis Gamboa

2004 Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis "El Ciclon de Guantanamo" Gamboa sat down with Ryan Burton for his first interview on Boxingtalk. As one of boxing's biggest prospects, there is much talk of the former Cuban Olympian fighting for a world title in the near future. Although his pro career has been short and he has shown some defensive lapses, the offense-minded Gamboa is confident and poised to put on a show for the world.

Boxingtalk: First off I would like to wish you a happy birthday. You turned 27 on Tuesday December 23rd. What are your goals at this point in your young career?

Yurkiorkis Gamboa: Thank you. I want to fight for a world championship. I want to get to the point that I am the best in the world.

BT: Are your plans to stay at featherweight (126 pounds)?
YG: I want to win a world championship at 126 lbs and in about two years I would like to move up to 130 and then 135 lbs.

BT: You are scheduled to fight Roger Gonzalez [27-2, coming off a loss to Cornelius Lock] on Janary 9th when you headline at Buffalo Bill's in Primm, Nevada. Have you started studying your opponent?

YG: I have been training hard and will start studying specifically for him this week.

BT: After this fight who are you looking to fight?
YG: I don't have any specific names. My objective has been to fight for a world title and be the best in the world.

BT: Some boxing critics say that you let your guard down when you fight. You have been knocked down in two of your last three fights. You came back to win them both but do you think this will present a problem as you step up in competition?

YG: Well, those are factors that I will have to correct as I advance in my career. Little by little I am trying to perfect my craft and thats why I train in the gym hard. Its something that I am going to get corrected.

BT: What did you think of the De La Hoya vs Pacquiao fight?

YG: The fight was very suprising. Not at all how I thought it would go. Pacquiao fought an amazing fight and De La Hoya just looked drained like he couldn't do anything. I don't think De La Hoya thought Pacquiao would be able to do that to him.

BT: Who was your boxing idol when you were growing up?

YG: When I was younger I spent more time going to the beach and them to the Guantanamo Nacional Gym. I didn't watch a lot of boxing except for Candelario Duvergel. They called him "El Astro de Riposta". He was a great boxer with an exciting style. He came from a rural area and trained with my dad for a while.

BT: Why did you leave Germany, where you first defected to, to come train in the United States?

YG: We stopped training in Germany in March and we moved out here. It was the only way I could be closer to my family that lives in Miami.

BT: I bet that helps you train better since you are more relaxed.

YG: Definitely. I am relaxed and can concentrate on just boxing.

BT: You have an exciting style that has made you a fan favorite and one of boxing's hottest prospects. Do you have a prediction of what we are going to see on January 9th?

YG: You are going to see a great fight. I am going to come out aggressive and you will see the best Yuriorkis Gamboa to date. I will step in to the ring in great physical condition with improved defense. Its my objective to show the best Yuriorkis Gamboa ever on January 9th.

BT: So are you going to look for a knockout?

YG: Actually I never look for a knockout. It seems with my style that the knockouts just happen. Thankfully they have happened often.

BT: Do you have a message you would like to send to your fans?
YG: Thanks to all the fans for their support. They have helped bring me this far and now I must step up to be world champion. All the fans are invited to watch ESPN Friday Night Fights on January 9th and there is a special for all the fans in Florida.


NOTE: Call 1-800-FUN-STOP to book a trip to the site of the fight and mention code TRFL01 and you can get a free ticket to the fight and one night free at Buffalo Bill's in Primm, NV. Open to Florida residents only.