Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yuriorkis Gamboa wins WBA Super Featherweight Title over Michael Farenas

Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa returned to the boxing ring on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas after an absence of 15 months. He shook off the ring rust and pounded out a 12-round unanimous decision over 28-year-old Filipino boxer Michael Farenas. With the win, Gamboa claimed the vacant interim WBA Super Featherweight Championship. The 30-year-old Gamboa, who now fights out of Miami, Florida, won by scores of 117-108, 117-109, and 118-108. Farenas suffered two knockdowns during the fight while Gamboa was dropped once.

After the match, Gamboa said he was glad he got some rounds in after being out of action for so long and thought it was a competitive and entertaining fight for the fans. His last bout had been back in September of 2011 when he beat Daniel Ponce De Leon by a technical decision in the eighth round.

He’s a former featherweight champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist who moved up in weight for the showdown with Farenas. Gamboa had promotional problems with Bob Arum’s Top Rank company and rapper 50 Cent ended up buying his contract.

50 Cent had originally planned to promote bouts with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather Jr., but the two of them had a falling out. The rapper then contacted Arum and he was kind enough to place the Gamboa vs Farenas fight on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao vs Juan Manuel Marquez bout. It turned out well for Gamboa as he was faster, stronger, and sharper than Farenas even though he had been inactive for over a year.

The fight was far from perfect for the Cuban exile though as Farenas shook him up as early as the second round with a straight left hand to the head. This appeared to wake Gamboa up though as he picked up the pace after that and started to press the action. He scored with several hard shots and before the round had ended he had Farenas down on the canvas from a strong right to the head.

Gamboa also had a good third round as he cut Farenas on the side of both of his eyes. He started to dominate the fight, but Farenas hung in there with him and wasn’t afraid to fight back. The Filipino hit the deck again in the seventh round after Gamboa landed another solid right to the head. Gamboa also had him in trouble in the ninth round and it appeared he was about to stop Farenas, but Gamboa was stopped in his tracks and found himself on the canvas after Farenas nailed him with a left to the body. He beat the count quite easily, but was a more cautious boxer over the last three rounds.

With the win, the undefeated Gamboa raised his record to 22-0, with 16 Kos. Farenas saw his record fall to 33-4-4 with 26 Kos. He said he thought the fight was very close and was happy with his performance against Gamboa, who is considered one of the best in the world. It was Farenas’ first loss in his last nine bouts and it was the second time he failed to overcome his opponent in a world title bout. He took on world champion Takashi Uchiyama in Japan in July, but the bout was stopped and called a technical draw after three rounds. This was due to a cut suffered by Uchiyama which was the result of an accidental head butt.

Ian Palmer

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