Brandon Rios still searching for war, hopes Yuriorkis Gamboa will provide a memorable battle

21 Feb

Robert Delgado – Los Angeles

Carmen Basilio versus Tony DeMarco, Tony Zale and Rocky Graziano, Marvin Hagler against Tommy Hearns and Arturo Gatti’s fights with Micky Ward are forever immortalised as boxing wars and it is no secret that Brandon Rios, a multi-dimensional brawler cut from warrior cloth, is eager to find an opponent who can help him emulate the aforementioned. On Saturday, April 14, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Rios has been aligned with an undefeated prizefighter who has the calibre of providing a memorable battle as former featherweight ruler Yuriorkis Gamboa makes the trip north to lightweight to challenge for the vacant WBA championship at 135lbs…

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The April 14 match-up is the toughest test of both Gamboa (pictured) and Rios' careers. Credit: Chris Farina/Top Rank

Rios (29-0-1, 22ko) enjoyed a productive and breakout 2011, taking on a trio of fighters with different nationalities and alternative styles and ended the year with three consecutive knockouts.

Against Miguel Acosta, a boxer-puncher from Venezuela, Rios struggled to establish an authority on early proceedings but eventually broke the more experienced prizefighter down to earn a late stoppage. Versus Urbano Antillon, in a grudge fight for Californian supremacy, Rios slobberknocked with his rival and banged Antillon out of the fight inside three rounds. And, in his most recent outing, Bam Bam bust up Englishman John Murray to gain another late stoppage.

However, against none of them did he get his classic battle as the contests turned out too one-sided but against an elite-level pugilist like Gamboa (21-0-0, 16ko), he may finally have the level of adversary he has been craving.

“I give Gamboa a lot of credit… he’s jumping up two weight classes and he’s been calling me out,” said Rios to “He’s coming up to my weight class and he’s challenging me. He’s very skillful, very fast [and] a very talented kid so it’s going to be a great fight and it’s a great match up for the fans and everybody.

“The challenge for him is that he’s got to handle my pressure and my power. [Acosta] is [a fighter with] the same type of style that I think Gamboa will bring to the table, but maybe with a little more quickness from Gamboa. I’ve been studying him, and my trainer, Robert Garcia, has been doing a really good job of breaking him down. He’s correcting me and directing me on Gamboa’s style.”

Both fighters have great pedigree. Rios, like Gamboa, is unbeaten and a former world champion to boot who lost his world title outside of the ring. Yuriorkis, a former two-time world titlist at featherweight, also boasts a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in the flyweight division.

There has been concern, though, that come fight night there will be a weight discrepancy. Rios is renowned to be a powerful lightweight, who even struggled to make 135lbs against John Murray (and consequently lost possession of the WBA belt that he attempts to reclaim in April) whilst Gamboa, conversely, is skipping through super featherweight altogether to compete at lightweight, his heaviest fighting weight in his career.

Cameron Dunkin, Rios’ manager, is confident that his ward will find making weight easier during the current training camp as he has enlisted the aid of a nutritionist and a conditioner and is now more careful about what he puts in his body and how he gets in shape.

“He worked hard there, but he didn’t have a strength and conditioning coach with him and he just ate everything,” Dunkin is quoted to have said by Yahoo News. “That whole camp was just crazy, but he’s going to do things right and he’ll have no issue.”

Gamboa’s representive Ahmet Oener has also brushed off the notion that the Cuban will require a settling in period at lightweight as he is more comfortable at the higher weight: “This is the fight where everyone is going to see he is a rising Cuban star. This is his place, 135 pounds. He will not go in as the underdog.”

And, in a concluding remark that would no doubt rouse Rios, Oener said: “Gamboa is a special fighter.”

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2 Responses to “Brandon Rios still searching for war, hopes Yuriorkis Gamboa will provide a memorable battle”


  1. Brandon Rios still searching for war, hopes Yuriorkis Gamboa will provide a memorable battle « On The Beak - February 21, 2012

    […] Brandon Rios still searching for war, hopes Yuriorkis Gamboa will provide a memorable battle […]

  2. News: Jan – June « On The Beak - November 18, 2012

    […] Brandon Rios still searching for war, hopes Yuriorkis Gamboa will provide a memorable battle […]

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