In February 2007 Olympic gold medallist Yuriorkis Gamboa had arrived in Hamburg for the first time after defecting from the Cuban national team along with team-mates Odlanier Solis and Yan Barthelemy. Three years and 17 pro-fights later the WBA featherweight champion made his return to Germany yesterday to defend his world title against unbeaten Jonathan Victor Barros next week (Saturday, March 27th) at Sporthalle Hamburg.
“I’m happy to be back at the place where my pro career started”, stated Gamboa after landing at Hamburg airport. “I still appreciate all the help and support my German friends have been giving me after defecting from Cuba. I still have lots of friends here and I am happy that I can defend my title here in Hamburg.”
Although his opponent Barros is unbeaten in 29 pro-fights (28 wins, 1 draw) “El Ciclon de Guantanamo” is confident to defend his title. “I don’t care about my opponent’s name or record”, says Gamboa. “I want to prove that I am the best boxer in the world. I know that I can beat any opponent who comes my way.
The co-main event of next Saturday’s show in Hamburg which will be featured live on German TV station SAT.1 will be the heavyweight re-match between German prospect Steffen Kretschmann and Russian tough-guy Denis Bakhtov for the PABA championship. In June 2009 Bakhtov pulled an upset by knocking out Kretschmann in round 1. Now the German heavyweight hope wants to take revenge.
The undercard features last year’s world title challengers Juan Carlos Gomez (who lost to Vitali Klitschko in March 2009) and Mahir Oral (who was stopped by Arthur Abraham last June) on their ways back to title shots. Also on the card will be German amateur standout Robert Woge who gives his pro-debut at 168 lbs.