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Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Sanctioned Offenses

An Attempt to Unravel How Yuriorkis Gamboa Became the “Interim WBA Ordinary World Featherweight Champion of the World”

Boxing fans, meet your “Interim World Boxing Association Ordinary World Featherweight Champion of the World,” Yuriorkis (El Ciclon de Guantanamo) Gamboa, 15-0 (13 KOs). Gamboa, a former Cuban amateur legend and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, won the “Interim World Boxing Association Ordinary World Featherweight Championship” with a dominating performance against veteran Jose Rojas after steamrolling his way through the middle ranks of the featherweight division. It is undisputed in boxing circles that Gamboa is a world-class contender that is ready to face the featherweight division’s top brass. How he became the “Interim World Boxing Association Ordinary Featherweight Champion of the World,” however, is beyond comprehension for the average boxing fan or sports law attorney. That is because the “World Boxing Association Ordinary World Featherweight Champion of the World” (hereinafter the “WBA featherweight champion”) is the undefeated Chris (The Dragon) John, 42-0-2 (22 KOs), who has successfully defended his title 12 times since winning his own “interim” WBA title back in 2003.

John holds victories of some of the most talented featherweights in boxing, including Juan Manuel Marquez, who makes a strong argument for being the best pound-for-pound boxer in the sport today. “The Dragon” last defended his title on February 28, 2009, drawing with former 2000 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Rocky Juarez. He is scheduled for a rematch with Juarez on June 27, 2009, a mere four months after their draw. In the meantime, on April 17, 2009, less than two months after John’s draw against Juarez, Gamboa won the “interim” WBA featherweight title by stopping Rojas in 10 one-sided rounds. If John fought less than two months earlier, the question is begged as to what happened between February 28, 2009 and April 17, 2009 to justify staging Gamboa vs. Rojas for the “interim” WBA featherweight title? The answer shines an unfortunate light on one of several Gordian knots that must be cut to begin to understand the inner machinations of boxing’s sanctioning bodies: the Rules of the World Boxing Association (hereinafter the “WBA Rules”)...

For the full article, please go to

Paul Stuart Haberman, Esq. is an attorney at the New York law firm of Heidell, Pittoni, Murphy & Bach, LLP. He is also a New York State licensed boxing manager and the Chairman of the Sports Law Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association. ©


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