Junior lightweight Chris Colbert is close to a deal to make the next defense of his WBA interim title against former unified featherweight world titlist Yuriorkis Gamboa, multiple sources with knowledge of the discussions told BoxingScene on Friday.
The fight, which is agreed to but not signed, would air as part of a Showtime-televised undercard and would take place in early July at a site to be determined, the sources said.
Showtime’s network events have all taken place inside the bubble of the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, since it began putting on cards again last summer during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 24-year-old Colbert (15-0, 6 KOs), of Brooklyn, New York, who is a flashy and fast fighter, would be making the second defense of his interim 130-pound belt.
He won it from Jezreel Corrales by unanimous decision in January 2020 in Philadelphia and made his first defense by exciting 11th-round knockout of Jaime Arboleda in December at Mohegan Sun Arena on Showtime.
Gamboa (30-4, 18 KOs), 39, a 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist fighting out of Miami, would be moving down in weight from the 135-pound lightweight division where success has been hard to come by. He has been much more effective boxing at 130-pounds.
Gamboa has lost his last two bouts, both in the lightweight division. First was a 12th-round knockout to Gervonta Davis for the vacant WBA title in December 2019 in a fight in which Gamboa fought for much of the bout with a ruptured Achilles tendon. After nearly a year layoff to recover from the injury, Gamboa dropped a one-sided unanimous decision challenging WBC world titleholder Devin Haney in November 2020.
Gamboa previously held the same 130-pound interim title he would fight Colbert for. He held it from 2012 to 2013 before moving up to lightweight to find mixed success.
Gamboa and Colbert share a common opponent in Miguel Beltran Ruiz (34-8, 23 KOs), 31, of Mexico, who fought them in back-to-back lightweight fights.
In November 2018, Gamboa won a lopsided 10-round decision over him in Miami on a pay-per-view card they shared with Juan Manuel Lopez against Cristian Ruben Mino. In Ruiz’s next fight he faced Colbert and got knocked out in the first round for a vacant regional title in Bakersfield, California, on a Premier Boxing Champions card on FS1.
Dan Rafael was ESPN.com's senior boxing writer for fifteen years, and covered the sport for five years at USA Today. He was the 2013 BWAA Nat Fleischer Award winner for excellence in boxing journalism.