Lem Satterfield

Rios-Gamboa set for WBA lightweight belt on April 14

THE RING’s No. 1-rated lightweight Brandon Rios and THE RING’s No. 1-rated unbeaten featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa will meet for the WBA’s 135-pound belt on April 14 in an HBO-televised clash from the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas.

Kevin Iole of Yahoo!Sports reported that Gamboa (21-0, 16 knockouts) will rise in weight in order to face Rios (29-0-1, 22 KOs), who is coming off December’s 11th-round technical knockout of England’s John Murray at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“Rios and Gamboa are two young and hungry fighters in their prime looking to make a leap to stardom,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, which promotes both fighters.

Managed by Cameron Dunkin, the 25-year-old Rios is trained by Robert Garcia and has won 11 consecutive bouts, 10 of them by knockout, including the past four straight.

“Brandon signed like a week ago, but this morning, what Cameron told me is that they were just waiting for Gamboa to sign his contract,” said Garcia.

“All that they were waiting for was Gamboa’s signature. Brandon is already training and he’s already getting some sparring. It looks like Eloy Perez will be one of our sparring partners.”

A former Olympic gold medalist for Cuba, Gamboa is meeting Rios for the crown that Rios lost on the scales before even entering the ring against Murray.

Rios failed to make the contracted 135-pound weight limit after three tries at the pre-fight weigh-in for his bout with Murray, an infraction that cost the Oxnard, Calf., resident his title in accordance with WBA rules.

“Gamboa has been constantly referred to as a ‘rising Cuban star’ throughout his career. But on April 14, the word ‘rising’ will finally be eliminated,” said Ahmet Öner, president of Gamboa’s primary promoter, Arena Box US.

“Gamboa will be a superstar. Gamboa is so special, and though he has been fighting at 126 pounds, 135 pounds is where he belongs. He will be so much stronger fighting at lightweight.”

 

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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