On December 23, their Birthdays celebrate four brilliant fighters. Three of them had the great success on the amateur as well as on the professional ring, the one held the world title more than six years. Three of them should leave their countries to achieve the recognition, the one became the national hero on his home land.
Yuriorkis Gamboa Toledano was born 1981, in Guantanamo, Cuba. As amateur he had about 250 fights, during which he won the Cuban Nationals for four times and PanAmerican Games in 2003. The biggest victory for Gamboa came at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he captured the Gold at flyweight (51 kg) division. On the way to the Gold Gamboa has won three-time European Champion, The Russian Balakshin, and two World Champions, The Thai Jongjohor and The Frenchman Thomas. On December, 2006, while the training camp in Venezuela, Gamboa with his two teammates left the Cuban camp. After the crossing board to Colombia, they flew to Germany, where they signed their first professional contracts. To get the money for this affair, Yuriorkis sold his Olympic Gold medal. Gamboa earned the nickname El Ciclon de Guantanamo, which means The Hurricane from Guantanamo, because of his speed and strength, punching power and highest class skills. Very soon he was noticed by the biggest promoters in US, so, Yuriorkis travels to the States, where he settled down in Miami, Florida. In 2009, in New York, Gamboa became the WBA featherweight Champion of the World, later on he added also IBF title at the same division. Right now, Yuriorkis has vacated the featherweight championship and is fighting out at lightweight division. Gamboa's record is 23(16 KO)-0. On December 23, The Hurricane from Guantanamo celebrates his 32-nd Birthday!
Antonio Cervantes was born 1945, in San-Basilio-de-Palenque, Colombia. The Colombian Boxing Federation officially named Cervantes The Colombian Boxer of the Century. While his childhood, to feed himself, Antonio sold the contraband cigarettes and shined the shoes on the streets of his town. At the age of 18, Antonio was introduced to the boxing, having the amateur record of only 2-1, he turned pro. In 1972, in Panama City, Cervantes became the WBA light-welterweight champion, in the 10-th round knocking out the local fighter, Alfonso Frazer. For the next three-an-a-half years, Antonio defends his title for ten successful times, before lost it in the hard 15 round battle to the Puerto-Rican, Wilfred Benitez. In 1977, Cervantes gets back his belt, this time it is vacant and Antonio beats The Argentinian, Carlos Maria Gimenez, in six rounds. And again, for the next three years the belt is defended by Antonio for six times. Only in 1980, he lost it to The American Aaron Pryor, by KO in 4-th. Cervantes retired in 1983, with the record of 123(52 KO)-15(2 KO)-4. Nowadays, Antonio Cervantes is the professional coach, and this year he becomes 68 years old!
Steve Muchoki was born 1956, in Kenya. In his 200 amateur bouts, he lost only 3, and is considered as one of the greatest amateur boxers of Africa. In 1974, only at the age of 18, Muchoki won the silver at the light-flyweight (48 kg) on inaugural World Championships in Havana, losing at the finals to The Cuban, Jorge Hernandez. In 1976, Steve represents the Kenyan team on Montreal Olympics, but doesn't step on the ring, because of the boycott of African delegations. In 1978, in Beograd, Muchoki became the world amateur champion, in the finals taking the rematch and beating The Cuban Hernandez. In 1979, he travels to Denmark, where turns pro. Muchoki won the African and the Commonwealth titles at flyweight, and once fought for the WBA belt, but lost by TKO in 13-th to Santos Laciar of Argentina. The great Kenyan's record is 14(3 KO)-4(3 KO)-1. Today, Steve Muchoki became 57-years-old!
Otis Grant was born 1967, in Saint-Ann, Jamaica. When Otis was 7-years-old his family moved to Montreal, Canada, where he started to box at the age of 11. The friends gave him the nickname Magic, because he was a huge fan of famous basketball player Magic Johnson. In 1987, Grant has won PanAmerican Games silver at middleweight (75 kg), in the finals losing to the World Champion, The Cuban Angel Espinosa. The one year later, Otis with his older brother Howard turns pro. It was nine long years for Otis to win the world title. In 1997, in Sheffield, England, for the vacant WBO middleweight belt, he beats by the decision, The Englishman Ryan Rhodes. In 1998, Grant fought for the WBA and WBC light-heavyweight titles, but by the TKO in the 10-th lost to Roy Jones Jr. Grant's last fight was in 2006, after that he retired holding the record of 38(17 KO)-3(3 KO)-1. Now, Otis with his brother owns the boxing gym in Montreal, called Grant Brother Gym, where they coaching the young boys and promoting amateur shows. Today Otis Grant celebrates his 46-th Birthday Party!