Gamboa cruises to a decision victory over Barros

Gamboa (here against Cheo Rojas) cruised to victory over Jonathan Victor Barros (Photo by Tom Casino / Showtime Boxing).

In Hamburg, Germany, Yuriorkis Gamboa was able to cruise to a unanimous decision over Argentinian Jonathan Victor Barros.  The official scores were 118-109, 118-109 and 116-111, all in favor of Gamboa.  El Ciclon moves to 18-0, while Barros earned his first loss, falling to 28-1-1.

For the first two rounds, Gamboa seemed to be trying to solve a puzzle, doing a lot of posturing, but not a lot of throwing punches until the last 20 seconds or so of each round, but doing just enough to take the rounds.  In the third round, he started to establish his offense, coming out more aggressevely and throwing combinations from all kinds of angles.  From that point on, however, Gamboa coasted, showing off his athleticism more than actually trying to close out the fight.  As much as he tried to throw punches, he tried to avoid getting hit, and it seems that this was the best defensive fight of his career. 

"Yoni" Barros seemed completely befuddled by Gamboa's movement and speed.  Through the fight, he spent a lot of time trying to create angles, but very little time actually throwing punches, and when he did throw punches, Gamboa was gone by the time his fist got there.  By the fifth round, it became apparent that Gamboa knew he had the fight under control, and was mostly trying to practice his defense and get some rounds in.  Like a cat playing with a mouse, he would paw at his prey, let his opponent do just enough to build some confidence, and then pounce right back on him to make sure he wasn't going anywhere. 

Finally, in the eighth round, Gamboa came out more aggressive, as if he'd turned on a switch.  He scored a knockdown by purely overwhelming Barros early in the round.  He opened up for some wide offense, and that's where he started to show his flaws again.  Barros managed to catch Gamboa with a quick right hook, wobbling his legs.  From there, Gamboa found a happy medium, fighting with some offense, but not as recklessly as when he was gunning for a knockout.

In round 10, Gamboa suffered a cut in the middle of his forehead from a headbutt.  In the last few rounds, as Barros grew more confident and desperate, he started to throw significantly more punches and to fight more aggressively.  Gamboa also started to get sloppier as he looked tired.  It was here that Barros likely stole a few rounds, although it was far too late.  He needed the knockout, fought like he needed the knockout, but just didn't get it.

Next for Gamboa could be Celestino Caballero.  For that fight to happen, Caballero would need to get past Daud Yordan, a fight which is no gimme for the Panamanian. 

In the "main event", Denis Bakhtov scored a 9th round TKO over Steffen Kretschmann, ending Kretschmann's career as a prospect.  While Bakhtov scored what was viewed as a fluke first round knockout in their first fight, he really outworked and battered Kretschmann through most of the fight, until Kretschmann eventually just turned his back and walked away during the middle of the fight.  Bakhtov wins a minor title, and Arena Box remains without a decent German fighter.

On the undercard, Mahir Oral scored a workmanlike 10th round technical knockout over Juan Camilo Novoa.  Novoa had been knocked out much sooner by lesser fighters, so it's not a particularly impressive stoppage from that respect, although Oral got some rounds in and was never in trouble.  Juan Carlos Gomez came back for the first time since getting battered by Vitali Klitschko to score a third round knockout over Ukranian trial horse Alexey Mazikin. 

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