Crawford vs Gamboa: Fighters excited for June 28 HBO main event in Omaha

Mark Runnacles

Terence Crawford will defend his WBO lightweight title against Yuriorkis Gamboa on June 28, bringing big-time boxing back to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.

As reported a couple of days ago, Terence Crawford will make the first defense of his WBO lightweight title on June 28 against Yuriorkis Gamboa, hosting the Cuban at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford's hometown.

The 26-year-old Crawford (23-0, 16 KO) last fought on March 1 in Scotland, beating Ricky Burns for the 135-pound belt. He returns home a conquering hero, and says he expects a big turnout from local fans.

"This is what I always wanted to do, make my first world title defense in Omaha where I grew up," said Crawford. "As soon as this fight was announced my phone and Facebook lit up. Everyone wants to be at this fight. This is extremely exciting, something I always dreamed about. Gamboa is fast and he hits with power. This is a serious fight.

"I fought and beat a lot of great fighters as an amateur. I was at 132 pounds then and Gamboa, as an amateur, was 112. But now we are about to go at it. I plan to train in Colorado Springs. During fight week, I will be away from the main fight hotel. It'll be me and just my team to be by ourselves in the final days leading to the biggest fight of my life. It's been a long ride to get here but at last my dream has come true. This will be a great action-packed fight."

Gamboa (23-0, 16 KO) hasn't fought since June 2013, when he beat Darleys Perez. With new promoter 50 Cent, Gamboa has fought just two times since 2011. At 32, he's certainly been a successful professional, winning world titles at 126 and 130 pounds, but largely due to his inactivity, he's managed to be a two-time world champion and unbeaten while also falling short of early hype and expectations.

He will get a big chance here, though, with his first HBO main event in nearly three years.

"I am glad to be back in the ring and continue my quest at being recognized as one the best in the sport," said Gamboa. "I know that Crawford is a great talent and a good champion and I welcome the chance at beating one of the best in the lightweight division.

"I know all about him. There is one major difference - my speed and my power. I am going right into his hometown because I know I will win. I want that title belt. Certainly by beating him, God willing - I know that bigger and better opportunities will come. It is time to remind fans all around the world that El Ciclon de Guantanamo is here for the long run."

"When we made this fight Terence asked me to please make the tickets reasonable for all of his fans. We did exactly that at $102, $52 and $27," said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum. "He is so happy. This is a great event, the first big championship boxing event in over 40 years in this wonderful city. Terence Crawford and Yuriorkis Gamboa are considered to be the two best lightweights in the world. We are looking forward to a great action fight."

"After 42 years, it's going to be a historical moment in Omaha. Gamboa and Crawford have identical records so it's surely going to be an amazing showdown," said 50 Cent.

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