Gamboa pursues bigger bout

Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa is on a fast track as a professional and isn't wasting any time in his bid to land a big-money fight in 2009.

Gamboa (12-0, 10 knockouts) faces veteran Roger Gonzalez in a 10-round bout today in the main event of a card at the Star of the Desert Arena in Primm. Gamboa's NABF and WBC International titles will be on the line, and ESPN2 will televise the fight.

"I'm definitely on a very fast pace," Gamboa, a featherweight who won gold for Cuba in 2004, said through an interpreter. "I'm working very hard. This is the toughest fight of my career. Roger Gonzalez is a very good opponent. But I have been training well for this fight, and I will be ready."

Gamboa is working with a new trainer, Ismeal Salas, and has been trying to improve his defense.

"I'm much more relaxed" as a result of the changes that Salas has made, Gamboa said. "I'm not trying to force the knockout like before. Now I just let it come naturally."

Gamboa's manager, Luis De Cubas, said his fighter won't duck anyone in his quest to be a world champion.

"(Gamboa) has fought guys with 60 fights under their belts," De Cubas said. "This kid is a special fighter. He's what boxing needs right now -- a knockout artist."

Gonzalez (27-2, 18 KOs) said he won't be an easy mark.

"I understand what they're doing," he said of being paired with a hot commodity such as Gamboa. "But I don't give in. If he beats me, I'm going to make him work for it. I don't think they're going to run me over."

The card, which includes the U.S. debuts of Cuban heavyweight Odlanier Solis and Cuban middleweight Erislandy Lara, will begin at 5:15 p.m.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at or 702-387-2913.