A True Collision Course

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 24, 2010

IOWA CITY (BASN) — In a fight that was to set up a bigger fight against Juan Manuel Lopez, Cuban fighter Yuriokis Gamboa put his undefeated record on the line against the rugged veteran Roger “the Tiger” Mtagwa.

In the first minute of the fight, Gamboa advantage in hand speed became obvious as a quick left hook nearly sent Mtagwa down in the first 30 seconds and through the rest of the round, Mtagwa could not catch the faster Gamboa.

Gamboa showed that he could hit Mtagwa any time as he sent Mtagwa down for an eight count near the end of the round.

Gamboa threw blistering fast combinations over the first minute of the second round and Mtagwa couldn’t get any counters off.

He retreated to gather his wit but that this reprieve lasted only 30 seconds as Gamboa nailed him with a hard right that created rubber legs. Mtagwa looked for cover but Gamboa nailed him with a five punch combination that began with a left hook and ended with a right, sending Mtagwa down for the second time.

Mtagwa had very little left while Gamboa sat on his punches and connected with a final devastating left hook that stopped Mtagwa for good.

The Cuban looked the best in his career as he landed on fifty percent of his total punches and 60% of his power punches.

It seemed that nothing missed and every punch had a snap to it.

Gamboa used his entire arsenal to thrill the fans in the Madison Square Garden .

Defending WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano was defending his belt for the sixth time as the underdog to the undefeated Puerto Rican fighter Juan Manuel Lopez and for Luevano, this was his chance to gain respect.

Lopez needed to look impressive against a champion; especially since Gamboa knocked out an opponent in less than two rounds that Lopez was forced to go the distance against.

Luevano came out jabbing but most of the jabs fell short whereas Lopez occasionally nailed Luevano with short accurate lefts from his southpaw position.

Both fighters fought southpaws but Lopez looked slightly quicker.

In the second round, Luevano picked up the pace and controlled most of the round as he used his experience to snap sharp counters against the more aggressive Lopez.

He ended the round with sharp combinations that might have stolen the round and turn the fight. Lopez continued where he left from the second round with combinations and forced his way inside Luevano’s jab.

Lopez’s power shots bloodied Luevano’s nose and his power shifted momentum in his favor. He continued his attack through the sixth round as he forced Luevano to retreat and Luevano jab become more ineffectual.

His power wilted and his jab became even more inaccurate as he no longer could counter effectively.

Going into the sixth round, Luevano’s left eye started to swell from Lopez’s right hand.

Throughout the sixth round, Lopez continued his assault as he pushed Luevano around the ring. Luevano strategy was to get Lopez into the later rounds as he viewed Lopez last fight against Mtagwa, who nearly stopped Lopez in the final round as Lopez tired.

In the opening minutes of the seventh round, Lopez staggered Luevano with a right hand hook.

Luevano retreated back to the corner with Lopez following. He unleashed a four punch combination including right hand hook followed by a left cross that sent Luevano down.

He staggered up at the count of seven but his eyes looked glassy . The referee, looking into Luevano’s glassy eyes, stopped the fight.

Lopez won his WBO feather weight champion in impressive style as he dominated the action throughout most of the fight.

Lopez sent his own message to Gamboa that he was ready to rumble for a future title fight.

While Gamboa won in spectacular style, Lopez stopped a tougher fighter by breaking his opponent down before ending the bout.

A Gamboa-Lopez would be an intriguing bout with Gamboa the faster fighter and Lopez a solid technician.

Luevano was not an easy fighter to look good against but Lopez showed that he had the talent to fight a difficult style fighter and win impressively.