TODD duBOEF (President, Top Rank): I think when everybody saw Gamboa the first time, the first time you saw him on television you saw how exciting he was. He has very much a Trinidad-esque charisma. And Solis is in a division searching for “Mr. Heavyweight.” I think that Solis, with his amateur credentials, was something that being in a partnership with Ahmet Öhner and Arena Box-Promotion, his organization, was something that Top Rank wanted to pursue because we believed in the product and build exposure around him.
We were a little disappointed Gamboa couldn’t fight on the show he originally planned to fight on (July 27) because of visa issues. We think the sky is the limit for both fighters and they are both in weight classes that if they deliver in the ring, there are going be lots of riches for them.
They are well-developed because they are mature and well-seasoned as amateurs and now we have to start working on the marketing side of it. Good doesn’t mean everything. You have to be marketable and amenable to the fans so the fans want to see you.
GAMBOA: I do not lose focus in preparation for this fight because I know that without winning this fight I can’t get to the bigger fight, Juan Manuel Lopez being one of them. I am completely focused on training for this fight and I am going to do everything possible to keep moving along and keep my record going.
I am going to be able to show off my skills, talents and abilities to the world. If I were him, I would want to take notice.
Fighting at The Garden?
GAMBOA: I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to fight in a place where so many world champions have fought and so many storied fights in the history of the sport and to give me the opportunity to perform there.
Are you happy with the progress of your career?
GAMBOA: Obviously I am very happy because I have satisfied every goal that I have set for myself. Bu the problem here is that I have many more goals to accomplish and I won’t be fully satisfied until I reach all of them.
GAMBOA: I know the importance of it and I know the significance of Madison Square Garden and the story of it and what it means to a Latin fighter and not just a Puerto Rican fighter. There have been many instances where non-Puerto Rican fighters have fought in the Garden and he has received that same support from Puerto Rican’s or any Latinos alike. I am very aware of it.
Has Roberto Duran given him any advice?
TONY GONZALEZ (Gamboa Advisor): Roberto did give him a base foundation of what it takes to not only become world champion but to stay a world champion and more importantly, to be marketable.
What is his impression of Juan Manuel Lopez?
GAMBOA: I think that any fan of boxing, and I include myself a fan as well, he has God-given ability and you can’t deny that. He became world champion because of those attributes and I recognize those skills and I think a fight between JuanMa and me would make for a great fight.
Does he plan to stay at this weight or move up in the future?
GAMBOA: I plan to stay here at 126 lbs, I want to make a name for myself at 126 and once I make a name for myself at this division I will seek to go up a category or two. Chris John is a name that interests me, I saw him fight against Rocky Juarez and I know that he just beat him and is considered a super champion with the WBA. If Rafael Marquez ever wants to consider a move up like Juan Manuel Lopez is, I think that would be a great battle between Rafael Marquez as well. Any champion that has made a name for himself and wants to challenge me or me to challenge them, I am here for the task.
Undefeated world champions JUAN MANUEL “JuanMa” LOPEZ and YURIORKIS GAMBOA will be serving hard shots of tropical punch when they defend their titles, in separate fights, headlining “Island Warriors: Latin Fury 12,” Saturday, October 10, broadcast Live on Pay-Per-View from the WaMu Theater in the “Mecca of Boxing,” Madison Square Garden. Lopez will be defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior featherweight title against top contender and Tanzania native ROGERS MTAGWA. Gamboa will be defending his World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight belt against Panamanian strongman WHYBER GARCIA. The televised portion of this boxing extravaganza will begin at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT with two exciting 10-round bouts – undefeated Top-10 heavyweight contender ODLANIER SOLIS of Cuba against two-time world title challenger FRES OQUENDO of Puerto Rico, and super welterweight contenders PAWEL WOLAK of Poland against CARLOS NASCIMENTO of Brazil. These eight sluggers boast a combined record of 182-25-2 (132 KOs), a winning percentage of 87% and a victory by knockout ratio of 73%.
Top-10 middleweight contender and New York fan favorite IRELAND’S JOHN DUDDY will also be featured, on the non-televised undercard in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Media Credential Pickup – will take place on Friday, 11 AM to 3 PM, at the entrance to the WaMu Theater (Glass Doors in front of box office). On Saturday, 4:30 – 9:00 PM, media credential pick-up will be located at the “Glass Doors” at the corner of 33rd St. & 8th Ave.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Arena Boxing U,S, and PR Best Boxing, Remaining Tickets, priced at $250, $150, $75, and $50, can be purchased at the Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets or online at www.thegarden.com. The “Island Warriors: Latin Fury 12” pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. PT, has a suggested retail price of $39.95. The telecast will be available in HD-TV for those viewers who can receive HD. For fight week updates, log on to www.toprank.com.