On September 11th Cuban featherweight phenomenon Yuriorkis Gamboa will enter the ring for his first championship unification bout when the WBA titlist faces IBF champ Orlando Salido at The Palms Resort Casino in Las Vegas. The show will be promoted by Top Rank in association with ARENA Sports-Promotion and broadcasted live on HBO Boxing After Dark.
“This will be Gamboa’s toughest test so far”, says promoter Ahmet Öner. “We have matched him against strong opposition from his very first pro-fight on but a title unification is always special. Salido isn’t wearing the championship belt for nothing. Also the pressure on Gamboa is increasing now that he is the main event fighter in Vegas and on HBO. But I am convinced that he will prove once more that he is one of the best fighters and most exciting rising stars in the sport today.”
“These are the fans every fighter is waiting for”, says Gamboa. “I have been working hard to get to where I am and I will not ruin this by a poor performance. Of course, I know that Salido is a strong opponent and I will not underestimate him. But I am on a mission. And that mission is to collect all championship belts to become undisputed champion of the world. And I promise all my fans that I will be wearing two belts after this fight.” To prepare for the most important fight of his career so far the 2004 Olympic gold medallist and four time Cuban amateur champion has moved his training camp from Miami to Tampa where Puerto Rican star Miguel Cotto is usually getting in shape for his fights as well.
“We know that this will be a real test so we have worked even harder than before the last fights”, says trainer Ismael Salas. “We have done more than 90 rounds of sparring already and are planning to do 120 rounds in total. We have found perfect conditions at our camp, everything went very well. From what I saw in training I would say Yuri’s speed and power will help him to get past Salido and win his second world title.”
Yuriorkis Gamboa, a former Cuban amateur standout, was born in Guantanamo. In December 2006 he defected from the Cuban national team along with fellow teammates Odlanier Solis and Yan Barthelemy to sign with German promoter Ahmet Oener (ARENA). He gave his pro debut in April 2007 and moved to Miami, Florida, in October 2007. With his exciting aggressive style and his extraordinary hand speed “El Ciclon” has won the hearts of boxing fans as well as experts. Gamboa has won all of his 18 pro-fights so far including 15 stoppages. He captured the WBA featherweight championship in April 2009 by stopping durable Jose “Cheo” Rojas and succesfully defended the title three times.
Orlando Salido turned professional in 1996. The Mexican won 34 out of his 47 fights, including 22 stoppages. The result of his world title fight against Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero in November 2006 was changed from a decision win to “no contest” after Salido tested positive on steroids. He came back from suspension to capture the IBF championship by outscoring Cristobal Cruz in May 2010 in a clos encounter. In November 2008 he had lost a title fight to Cruz by split decision. The biggest name in his record is without a doubt fellow Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez to whom he lost on points back in 2004.