Cuban Fighters Gamboa and Solis Have Easy Time
At “Island Warriors”, As Does Wolak

By Tim Donaldson

There is a lot of hype right now surrounding Cuban fighters Yuriorkis Gamboa and Odlanier Solis. Both Gamboa and Solis won their fights, but to be honest, I saw little to support that hype.

Heavyweight Odlanier Solis had little trouble defeating Monte Barrett. In fact, Barrett never looked like he was really in the fight. However, this does not make me impressed with Solis either. It wasn’t that Solis was that much better than Barrett, but rather, it was that Solis was that much bigger than Barrett. Solis weighed in at 271 pounds; whereas, Barrett weighed in at a measly 218 pounds.

In the first round, Barrett was throwing more punches than Solis, but they were having little impact on Solis. The punches that Solis threw did seem to have more power behind them. The second round was just ugly. Barrett was knocked down early. Although he beat the count, he was shaky for what was left of the round. Barrett went down two more times before the referee put a stop to the fight. But to be honest from where I was sitting, it looked like Solis simply threw Barrett to the floor. It looked more like a WWE wrestling match than professional boxing. The fight was over 1:52 in the second.

Barrett never really had a chance because Solis was able to use his weight against him. Solis fell on Barrett when he was up against the ropes, again seeming more like a wrestling match. Am I saying that Solis is not a good boxer? No. Absolutely not. But I am saying that this was no test for Solis. In fact, it would be no test for any decent fighter who had a 50 pound weight advantage over his opponent. It is time for the sanctioning bodies to face facts. With more and more heavyweights weighing in at these sizes, it is time to create a new weight class for them.

Yuriorkis Gamboa defended his WBA World Featherweight title against Whyber Garcia. Like Solis, he easily won. Gamboa threw more punches and connected more than Garcia. According to CompuBox, Gamboa landed 64 power punches to Garcia’s 10.

So you ask why I wasn’t impressed with this fight either. Again, it is not that I don’t think that Gamboa is a good fighter. He is. But professional boxing demands more than just a good fighter. Professional boxing demands a fighter that creates excitement for the crowd, a fighter that draws spectators to the sport. In this fight, I did not see Gamboa do that.

The first round was slow, and Gamboa did not get active until the last thirty seconds of the round. You might say that is normal. Lots of fighters start a fight slow, feeling their opponents out during the first round. But the second and third rounds were not much better. Gamboa easily controlled both rounds, but he seemed to be doing more jumping around than punching. It seemed that he was doing just enough to win.

The crowd’s reaction to all of this? There was no reaction. It was the quietest twelve minutes of the night. It wasn’t until the fourth round when Gamboa became more active, knocking Garcia down, that the crowd really became vocal. Maybe that was what Gamboa needed because Gamboa then came to life, catching Garcia in the corner. Garcia was unable to protect himself or fight back, forcing the referee to end the fight. Gamboa won by TKO :58 in the fourth round.

Super Welterweight Pawel Wolak also easily won his fight against Carlos Nascimento. Going into the fight, they looked like an even match. Both have a record of 24 wins and 1 loss. However, records can be deceiving. Wolak cut the right eye of Nascimento in the first round. Wolak controlled the action and pushed Nascimento around the ring.

The second round was a little more even. They were fighting in close and at a fast pace. Nascimento even seemed to control the end of the round. But you couldn’t really say that either fighter was dominating the round. In the fourth round, Wolak outclassed Nascimento. Nascimento was caught against the ropes for most of the round. By the end of the round, his face was bloody and he looked tired. The fifth round was much the same. Wolak knocked Nascimento around the ring. Nascimento went down. Toward the end of the round, Nascimento tried to change the momentum of the fight, but it was just too late. His corner, under the advice of the ringside physician, decided to end the fight.

The televised undercard of Island Warriors produced no surprises. Everyone who was expected to win, won easily. But as a boxing fan, sometimes a surprise is a good thing.


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