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Yuriokis Gamboa and Juan Manuel Lopez Headline HBO’s World Championship Boxing this Saturday Night

By Geno McGahee

Two of the brightest stars in boxing are on a collision course and this Saturday night, HBO will give them a stage to show their skills and allow the fans to speculate what a showdown between the two would look like.

In the main event, the WBO Super Bantamweight Champion, Juan Manuel Lopez, 27-0, 24 KO’s, moves up to the featherweight division to try to take the gold from the WBO Champion, Steven Luevano, 37-1-1, 15 KO’s. Lopez has all the makings of a superstar in boxing. He is an incredible puncher and has shown that he can get rid of a quality opponent in the early rounds. He stopped Daniel Ponce De Leon in one round in 2008, and has been sending his opponents packing without much trouble, with the exception of his last encounter with Rogers Mtagwa on October 10, 2009.

Mtagwa survived early and had the young Lopez holding on for dear life in the final round. Lopez would win a unanimous decision but he faced serious adversity for the first time in his career. Trouble making weight may have been part of the reason he tired down the stretch and he hopes to prove that should the bout go into the later rounds with Luevano.

Luevano is a relative unknown. He has never been stopped, losing only once by decision in 2005. He has made five successful defenses of his WBO title and has to have some confidence going into this fight considering the life and death struggle Lopez had with Mtagwa. This should be an interesting fight.

In the co-main event, we have WBA Featherweight Champion, Yuriokis Gamboa, 16-0, 14 KO’s, taking on the same Rogers Mtagwa, 26-13-2, 18 KO’s, in a twelve round title defense. This bout was obviously made as a comparison fight to see how Gamboa would do against a man that gave his potential future foe a fight of his life. Mtagwa is durable and Gamboa’s recklessness at times will give him opportunities.

Gamboa is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and a collision with Lopez would be a great match. This is the first phase of this operation and should the two undefeated stars get beyond their tough opposition, they will be facing off to decide who the superstar is going to be. HBO put together a great double header here.

On the undercard, “Irish” John Duddy, 27-1, 17 KO’s, still on the comeback trail, takes on Juan Astorga, 14-3-1, 9 KO’s, in a middleweight encounter. Duddy has been considered for many big events but has never been able to actually land one. He has been rumored to fight Kelly Pavlik several times only to have it fall through. Duddy, should he continue to win, will eventually get his opportunity at the bigger names in boxing.

In other action, light middleweight contender, Pawel Wolak, 25-1, 17 KO’s, has put four straight wins together since his setback loss to Ishe Smith in 2008. He will take on Ishmail Arvin, 15-1-4, 7 KO’s.

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