By Elisinio Castillo
As BoxingScene.com previously reported, former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (25-1, 17 KOs) was scheduled to snap a one-year layoff on Saturday night, as part of the undercard to a big event in Réunion Island, which is a French department in the Indian Ocean. The card was headlined by Alfonso Blanco defending his WBA interim-middleweight belt against hometown hero Hassan N'Dam.
Gamboa, who's been inactive since defeating Hylon Williams a year ago, was scheduled to fight South African Malcom Klassen (33-6-2, 17 KO's) - but at the last minute the fight fell apart.
According to multiple reports, police raided Klassen's hotel room and the found the fighter, his trainer, and a nurse - with illegal performance enhancing drugs in their possession. Klassen and his trainer were arrested and taken into custody to face charges.
Team Klassen sent a statement to BoxingScene.com to clarify the series of events that led up to the fallout with the local promoter and the local media in the country.
"We were signed to face Yuri Gamboa with two weeks notice. We arrived and made the contracted weight. When Gamboa was weighed he was over by 1kg [2.2-pounds]. This was ignored and only after we complained and made Gamboa weigh again and checking that he was over, they said they would have a meeting to sort this out. This meeting never happened, as we were side-stepped and ignored by the promoter Sebastian Acaries," the statement read.
"Malcolm had worked hard to make weight and we found out after the weigh-in that he was dehydrated. We went to the local clinic to get advice. When we got back to hotel, the officials for anti-doping arrived and did a random check. They found vials of vitamin B and magnesium. They confiscated them to confirm the validity of the contents. Trainer Errol Saffy was questioned and so was Malcolm. Malcolm was confirmed not guilty of any offense. Trainer Errol Saffy is awaiting the result of the [substance] test to prove his innocence."
"We were only informed of the fight being cancelled a half hour before the event started by another boxer... not even the promoter informed us. As of now we have no knowledge as to the reason for the cancellation. We feel the whole episode is a smoke screen to cover up Gamboa not making weight and was blown out of proportion by local media."
As BoxingScene also reported, Gamboa was already facing a lot of tension this week, after his trainer Ismael Salas bailed on him - when photos were posted on social media that showed Gamboa training in France with Pedro Diaz - who happened to be there by chance as he's training N'Dam for the main event.
When Salas saw the photos, he refused to work any further with Gamboa and left the Cuban boxer hanging in the wind.
"Ismael was very annoyed with me and sent me a very strong message, barring me from entering his gym in Las Vegas and saying that it was better that I stay with Pedro," Gamboa explained.
"I don't think that's fair to me. I have been alone out here and Pedro has been helping me to make the weight. Thanks to him I have been able to prepare myself these days. What could I do? Pedro had offered me his hand from one Cuban to another Cuban.'
"I'm sure that there will be very good things coming up in 2017, but I can not say anything else for now. This incident has been very unfortunate with Salas, who like me is from Guantanamo. We should be together above anything."