Cuban superstar Yuriorkis Gamboa won a one-sided technical decision over former world champion Daniel Ponce de Leon in front of 2,000 fans at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall Saturday night. It was Gamboa’s 21st win in as many pro-fights while Ponce de Leon suffered his fourth loss in his 45th bout. At the same time Ponce was the third Mexican former world champion Gamboa has beaten in a row (after Orlando Salido and Jorge Solis).
“El Ciclon de Guantanamo” dominated the fight from the opening bell on, controlling the pace of the bout with an excellent technical and tactical performance. After an accidental headbutt in the eighth the action was stopped due to a cut over Ponce de Leon’s nose. All three judges scored the fight in favor of Gamboa by a wide margin (80-72, 80-72, 79-73).
While Gamboa may have not looked as sensational as in his last bouts, promoter Ahmet Oner still saw an improvement to his last performances. “Of course, people expect fireworks from Gamboa whenever he enters the ring”, says Oner. “His style is so unique and spectacular that everybody wants to see the big KOs. But I liked the fact that Yuri focused on controlling the fight instead of risking too much in pure offensive flurry. From what I saw this was again another step for Gamboa en route to become a more complete fighter.”
“It was important for me to fight more than three or four rounds”, adds Gamboa. “I recognized early in the fight that he is not in my league and couldn’t even hit me if I didn’t let him. Still I wanted to enjoy the time in the ring and use it to gain more experience. I had been told before the fight that he is a very hard puncher. So I tried to avoid his shots which worked out pretty well. If the fight hadn’t been stopped due to the cut I would have knocked him out in the later rounds.”
Gamboa confirmed again that he will not stay in the featherweight division but move up in weight to get better fights against big names. “I’m done at 126. There’s nothing left for me to prove. I want to fight the best boxers in the world. Living legends like Manny Pacquiao. To be the best you have to beat the best. That is what I did at featherweight. And that is exactly what I want to continue doing. So bring on the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.”