Cuban boxer Yuriorkis Gamboa, a former Olympic gold medalist, suffered the first loss of his professional career when he was knocked out by Terence Crawford in a lightweight title fight Saturday in the latter’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
The 32-year-old Gamboa had a 23-0 record, but was coming off a year-long break. He still got off to a better start, using his boxing skills and speed advantage to build a lead on the cards.
But the tide turned in the fifth round, when Crawford dropped Gamboa for the first time in the fight after landing a right hand that dazed the Cuban, then a left hand that sent him to the canvas.
Gamboa survived the round, but was still clearly hurt. He took a knee in the eighth round but managed to score in the ninth with a huge punch that rocked Crawford.
Crawford later admitted that he did not see Gamboa’s punch in the ninth round coming, but came roaring back as he floored the Cuban twice more in the round.
After the fourth knockdown, the referee waved off the fight and called a stop to the contest at the 2:53 mark of the ninth round.
With the victory, Crawford retained his WBO lightweight title.
Gamboa, who was fighting at lightweight for only the second time in his career, saw his record drop to 23-1.