Wilfredo Gómez Rivera (Spanish pronunciation: [wilˈfɾeðo ˈɣomes]; born October 29, 1956), sometimes referred to as Bazooka Gómez, is a Puerto Rican former professional boxer and three-time world champion. He is frequently mentioned among the best Puerto Rican boxers of all time by sports journalists and analysts, along with Félix Trinidad, Miguel Cotto, Wilfred Benítez, Esteban De Jesús, Edwin Rosario, and Carlos Ortíz.
|Real name||Wilfredo Gómez Rivera|
|Height||5 ft 5 in (165 cm)|
|Born||October 29, 1956|
San Juan, Puerto Rico
|Wins by KO||42|
His seventeen consecutive knockouts in championship defenses is a record for all boxing divisions. He was ranked number 13 on The Ring magazine's list of the "100 greatest punchers of all time". In 1995, Gómez was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
Gómez was born in a poor area of Las Monjas in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the son of Jacobo Gomez and Julia Rivera. Gómez himself reportedly used a bicycle as means of transportation when he was young, and he sold candy to earn pocket money before becoming an amateur boxer.
Amateur career and professional debutEdit
Gómez won the gold medal at the 1974 Central American and Caribbean Games held in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and 1974 World Championships in Havana, Cuba before turning professional. He also competed in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, getting eliminated by an Egyptian rival in the Olympic's first round of bouts. He compiled an overall record of 96 wins and 3 defeats as an amateur boxer. Because of his family's economic situation, he decided not to wait for the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, opting to begin making money right after the Cuban competition instead. Coming from Puerto Rico, he settled for less money and exposure from the American media, and moved to Costa Rica, where he began to tour all of Central America in hopes of finding matches. His professional debut came in Panama City, Panama, where he fought to a draw with Jacinto Fuentes.
After this inauspicious debut, he reeled off a streak of 32 knockout wins in a row. Including wins over Fuentes, who was dispatched in 2 rounds in a rematch, and future world champion Alberto Davila, who lasted 9 rounds before being defeated. His 32 knockout wins in a row make him one of two world champions with the longest knockout streak in history, placing him in a third place tie behind LaMar Clark (44) and Billy Fox (43) for the all-time knockout streak, and tied with Deontay Wilder. Among world champions, Gómez and Wilder have the longest knockout winning streak; neither Clark nor Fox won world titles.[self-published source?] After Deontay Wilder defeated Bermane Stiverne for the WBC world Heavyweight title by unanimous 12-round decision on January 17, 2015, Wilder, who had won his first 32 fights by knockout, tied Gomez for the longest knockout streak by a world champion in boxing history, but at the same time had his own knockout streak snapped, ending his hopes to break Gomez's record and become the world champion with the longest streak.
Gómez's knockout streak caught the eye of the WBC and Lineal Super Bantamweight champion Dong Kyun Yum of South Korea, who travelled to San Juan, Puerto Rico to defend his crown against Gómez. Yum had a promising start, dropping Gómez 30 seconds into the bout, but Gómez picked himself up and eventually won the crown, his first world title, with a 12th-round knockout. His first defense took him to Tokyo, where he beat former world champion Royal Kobayashi in three rounds. Kobayashi had lasted 5 rounds vs Alexis Argüello. Next was Sagat Petchyindee in a small city of Thailand. He lasted two rounds. Petchyndee later became a world champion Thai and kick-boxer and famous actor in Thailand.
Gómez's streak reached 32 knockouts in a row, including what is generally considered to be his biggest victory ever, a five-round defeat of bantamweight champion Carlos Zarate, who was 55–0 with 54 knockout wins coming into their San Juan bout. Also included in that streak was future world champion Leo Cruz, beaten in 13 rounds at San Juan and Derrick Holmes, knocked out in five rounds in a fight attended, among others, by Sylvester Stallone, Carl Weathers and Alexis Arguello. After recording his 32nd. knockout win in a row, he moved up in weight to face the world featherweight champion Salvador Sánchez of Mexico. He lost to Salvador Sanchez by 8th-round TKO.
|You may watch Wilfredo Gomez fight various boxers, among them Lupe Pintor, here|
Hoping to get a rematch with Sanchez, Gómez went back to the super bantamweight division, where he got a dispense from the WBC to make two preparation bouts before defending his title again. He did so and won two non-title bouts, both by knockout in the 2nd round, one over Jose Luis Soto, who was a stablemate of Julio César Chávez back in Culiacán, Mexico. Wins over future world champ Juan 'Kid' Meza, knocked out in six in Atlantic City, and Juan Antonio Lopez, knocked out in ten as part of the Larry Holmes vs. Gerry Cooney undercard followed. But all chances of a rematch with Sanchez were dashed when Sanchez died in a car crash outside Mexico City the morning of August 12, 1982. Boxing fans across Latin America mourned the tragedy. Gómez, who was training to defend against Mexican Roberto Rubaldino only five days later, took a quick trip to Mexico to offer Sanchez flowers and then returned to Puerto Rico the same afternoon. He beat Rubaldino by knockout in 8 rounds and made one more title defense, against the Mexican bantamweight world champ Lupe Pintor in the Carnival of Champions in New Orleans, winning by knockout in 14 rounds. The Pintor contest was the only time a Gómez fight was showcased on HBO, which at the time exclusively showcased the largest boxing fights, much like the Pay Per View system does currently.
By the time he was done with the Junior Featherweights, Gómez had established a division record of 17 defenses, and a world record of most defenses in a row won by knockout, all his defenses finishing before the established distance limit.
He then re-tried winning the Featherweight title and this time, he achieved his dream, winning his second world title by dethroning Juan Laporte, a fellow Puerto Rican who had won the title left vacant after Sanchez died. He beat Laporte by a 12-round unanimous decision. This time, however, it didn't last that long. Ahead on all scorecards, Gómez was the victim of a rally by Azumah Nelson of Ghana who knocked him out in 11 rounds in San Juan, December 8, 1984.
Gómez wanted either a rematch with Nelson or a shot at WBA and Lineal Junior Lightweight world champion Rocky Lockridge of New Jersey, whichever came first. Lockridge was first to offer Gómez a try, and the 2 battled a closely scored 15 round bout in San Juan, with Gómez being given a unanimous 15-round decision, which many experts have said Lockridge deserved, but also which in the opinion of most who saw it live, was a justified decision.
This reign also came to an end quick, Gómez being handed his 3rd loss at the hands of young Alfredo Layne by knockout in 9 rounds. Layne lost the title in his own first defense to South Africa's Brian Mitchell, and it became obvious Gómez's best years had gone by, so he retired after this fight.
Last fights and retirementEdit
Gómez tried a comeback in 1988 and 1989, but after winning 2 more bouts by knockout, he realized boxing wasn't in his heart anymore and retired for good. He later moved to Venezuela, where he ran into drug problems, causing him trouble with the law and spending some months in jail. He attended a rehabilitation center in Colombia. Gómez rebounded and is now back in Puerto Rico, where he has managed to stay off drugs. He helped Hector 'Macho' Camacho with the training of Camacho's son Héctor Camacho Jr., who was a boxer in the Jr Welterweight division. In 1998, Gòmez became a born-again Christian.
On May 18, 2003, Gómez returned to Panama, where he was received by Duran and Eusebio Pedroza, among others. In a message geared towards Panamanians, he expressed thanks to that country, calling it his second country and saying, among other things "I'm very motivated now that I will return to Puerto Rico, and no one should be surprised if I buy an apartment in Panama and move my family here". However, he bought a house in Orlando, Florida in 2006.
Gómez had a record of 44 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw, with 42 knock out wins. In 1978, he was named Boxing Illustrated's fighter of the year. He is now a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Gomez was voted as the Greatest Super Bantamweight Ever in 2014 by the Houston Boxing Hall Of Fame. The HBHOF is a voting body composed totally of current and former fighters. In 2003 a biographical film entitled Bazooka: The Battles of Wilfredo Gómez was produced by Cinemar Films, the documentary was directed by Mario Diaz and was filmed in New York City.
Gómez was once married to Carolina Gamboa.
On April 17, 2015, Gómez was arrested by Puerto Rican police after allegedly hitting his 59-year-old companion, a lady with whom he had been living for ten months. He was released after she refused to raise charges against him.
|44 Wins (42 knockouts, 2 decisions), 3 Losses, 1 Draw |
|Win||44–3–1||Mario Salazar||KO||2(10)||July 19, 1989||Diplomat Hotel, Hallandale, Florida, USA|
|Win||43–3–1||Mario González||TKO||6(8)||July 30, 1988||Convention Center, Miami Beach, Florida, USA||Not the Mario Gonzalez who won a Bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games.|
|Loss||42–3–1||Alfredo Layne||TKO||9(15)||May 24, 1986||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Lost WBA and Lineal Super featherweight titles.|
|Win||42–2–1||Rocky Lockridge||MD||15||May 19, 1985||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Won WBA and Lineal Super featherweight titles.|
|Loss||41–2–1||Azumah Nelson||KO||11(12)||December 8, 1984||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Lost WBC Featherweight title.|
|Win||41–1–1||Juan Laporte||UD||12||March 31, 1984||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Won WBC Featherweight title.|
|Win||40–1–1||Eladio Santana||KO||2(10)||December 14, 1983||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||39–1–1||Iván Samuco||TKO||3(10)||April 23, 1983||Juan Pachín Vicéns Coliseum, Ponce, Puerto Rico|
|Win||38–1–1||Lupe Pintor||TKO||14(15)||December 3, 1982||Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA||Retained WBC Super Bantamweight title|
|Win||37–1–1||Roberto Rubaldino||TKO||8(15)||August 18, 1982||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC Super Bantamweight title|
|Win||36–1–1||Juan Antonio López||TKO||10(15)||June 11, 1982||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Valley, USA||Retained WBC Super Bantamweight title|
|Win||35–1–1||Juan Meza||TKO||6(15)||March 27, 1982||Playboy Hotel & Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA||Retained WBC Super Bantamweight title|
|Win||34–1–1||José Luis Soto||KO||2(10)||February 20, 1982||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||33–1–1||José González||TKO||7(10)||January 9, 1982||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Loss||32–1–1||Salvador Sánchez||TKO||8(15)||August 21, 1981||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Valley, USA||For WBC Featherweight title|
|Win||32–0–1||Raúl Silva||KO||3(10)||June 20, 1981||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||31–0–1||José Cervantes||KO||3(15)||December 13, 1980||Miami Jai-Alai Fronton, Miami, Florida, USA||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||30–0–1||Derrik Holmes||TKO||5(15)||August 22, 1980||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Valley, USA||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||29–0–1||Eddie Ndukwu||TKO||4(12)||April 27, 1980||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||28–0–1||Rubén Valdéz||TKO||6(15)||February 3, 1980||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Valley, USA||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||27–0–1||Nicky Pérez||TKO||5(15)||October 26, 1979||Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||26–0–1||Carlos Mendoza||TKO||10(15)||September 28, 1979||Caesars Palace, Las Vegas Valley, USA||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||25–0–1||Julio Hernández||TKO||5(15)||June 16, 1979||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||24–0–1||Nelson Cruz Tamariz||KO||2(10)||May 21, 1979||Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA|
|Win||23–0–1||Néstor Carlos Jiménez||KO||5(15)||March 9, 1979||Madison Square Garden, New York City, USA||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||22–0–1||Carlos Zárate||TKO||5(15)||October 28, 1978||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||21–0–1||Leonardo Cruz||TKO||13(15)||September 9, 1978||Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||20–0–1||Sakad Petchyindee||TKO||3(15)||June 2, 1978||Main Stadium, Korat, Thailand||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||19–0–1||Juan Antonio López||TKO||7(15)||April 8, 1978||Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, Bayamón, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||18–0–1||Royal Kobayashi||KO||3(15)||January 19, 1978||Municipal Gymnasium, Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka, Japan||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||17–0–1||Raúl Tirado||TKO||5(15)||July 11, 1977||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Retained WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||16–0–1||Dong-Kyun Yum||KO||12(15)||May 21, 1977||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico||Won WBC & Lineal Super Bantamweight titles|
|Win||15–0–1||John Meza||KO||2(10)||February 12, 1977||Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, Bayamón, Puerto Rico|
|Win||14–0–1||José Murillo Medel||KO||4(12)||October 11, 1976||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||13–0–1||Tony Rocha||KO||2(10)||August 16, 1976||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||12–0–1||Alberto Dávila||TKO||9(10)||July 19, 1976||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||11–0–1||Sak Lempthong||TKO||3(10)||May 8, 1976||Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium, Bayamón, Puerto Rico|
|Win||10–0–1||Ric Quijano||KO||1(10)||April 4, 1976||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||9–0–1||Cornell Hall||KO||3(8)||February 20, 1976||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||8–0–1||Andres Hernández||TKO||8(10)||December 20, 1975||Roberto Clemente Coliseum, San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||7–0–1||Joe Guevara||TKO||6(8)||September 19, 1975||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Win||6–0–1||Cleo García||KO||3(8)||August 2, 1975||Roberto Clemente Stadium, Managua, Nicaragua|
|Win||5–0–1||Jacinto Fuentes||KO||2(8)||June 21, 1975||Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City, Panama||Rematch of first fight|
|Win||4–0–1||Jose Jiménez||KO||1(6)||May 3, 1975||Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City, Panama|
|Win||3–0–1||Antonio Da Silva||KO||2(8)||March 2, 1975||Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City, Panama|
|Win||2–0–1||Jorge Bernal||TKO||1(8)||February 15, 1975||Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City, Panama|
|Win||1–0–1||Mario Hernández||TKO||1(6)||December 21, 1974||Plaza de Toros El Zapote, San José, Costa Rica|
|Draw||0–0–1||Jacinto Fuentes||MD||6||November 16, 1974||Gimnasio Nuevo Panama, Panama City, Panama||Gómez' professional debut.|
Puerto Ricans in the International Boxing Hall of Fame
|1||Carlos Ortíz||1991||World Jr. Welterweight Champion 1959 June 12- 1960, September 1, WBA Lightweight Champion 1962 Apr 21 – 1965 Apr 10, WBC Lightweight Champion 1963 Apr 7 – 1965 Apr 10, WBC Lightweight Champion 1965 Nov 13 – 1968 Jun 29.|
|2||Wilfred Benítez||1994||The youngest world champion in boxing history. WBA Light Welterweight Champion 1976 Mar 6 – 1977, WBC Welterweight Champion 1979 Jan 14 – 1979 Nov 30, WBC Light Middleweight Champion.|
|3||Wilfredo Gómez||1995||WBC Super Bantamweight Champion 1977 May 21 – 1983, WBC Featherweight Champion 1984 Mar 31 – 1984 Dec 8, WBA Super Featherweight Champion 1985 May 19 – 1986 May 24.|
|4||José "Chegui" Torres||1997||Won a silver medal in the junior middleweight at the 1956 Olympic Games. Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion 1965 Mar 30 – 1966 Dec 16|
|5||Sixto Escobar||2002||Puerto Rico's first boxing champion. World Bantamweight Champion 15 Nov 1935– 23 Sep 1937, World Bantamweight Champion 20 Feb 1938– Oct 1939|
|6||Edwin Rosario||2006||Ranks #36 on the list of "100 Greatest Punchers of All Time." according to Ring Magazine. WBC Lightweight Champion 1983 May 1 – 1984 Nov 3, WBA Lightweight Champion 1986 Sep 26 – 1987 Nov 21, WBA Lightweight Champion 199 Jul 9 – 1990 Apr 4, WBA Light Welterweight Champion 1991 Jun 14 – 1992 Apr 10.|
|7||Pedro Montañez||2007||92 wins out of 103 fights. Never held a title.|
|8||Joe Cortez||2011||The first Puerto Rican boxing referee to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame|
|9||Herbert "Cocoa Kid" Hardwick||2012||Member of boxing's "Black Murderers' Row". World Colored Welterweight Championship - June 11, 1937 to August 22, 1938; World Colored Middleweight Championship - January 11, 1940 until the title went extinct in the 1940s; World Colored Middleweight Championship - January 15, 1943 until the title went extinct in the 1940s|
|10||Félix "Tito" Trinidad||2014||Captured the IBF welterweight crown in his 20th pro bout. Won the WBA light middleweight title from David Reid in March 2000 and later that year unified titles with a 12th-round knockout against IBF champ Fernando Vargas. In 2001 became a three-division champion.|
|11||Héctor "Macho" Camacho||2016||First boxer to be recognized as a septuple champion in history. WBC Super Featherweight Championship - August 7, 1983 – 1984, WBC Lightweight Championship - August 10, 1985 – 1987, WBO Light Welterweight Champion - March 6, 1989 – February 23, 1991, WBO Light Welterweight Champion - May 18, 1991–1992.|
|12||Mario Rivera Martino||2019||First Puerto Rican boxing sports writer to be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He served Puerto Rican boxing for more than 50 years as a writer and eventual commissioner.|
= Indicates the person is no longer alive
- List of lineal boxing world champions
- List of super bantamweight boxing champions
- List of featherweight boxing champions
- List of super featherweight boxing champions
- List of WBA world champions
- List of WBC world champions
- List of boxing triple champions
- List of Puerto Rican boxing world champions
- Sports in Puerto Rico
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- Sánchez, José A. (November 25, 2012). "Entre leyendas Macho Camacho". El Nuevo Día.
- Eisele, Andrew (2003). "Ring Magazine's 100 Greatest Punchers". About.com. Retrieved 2017-12-15.
- Michael Klimes (2007-05-16). "Wilfredo 'Bazooka' Gomez, Part 1". East Side Boxing. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
- "Wilfredo Gomez". International Boxing Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-09-16.
- George Diaz Smith (2005-03-01). "Boxing:RSR Looks Back at Former champion, Wilfredo Gomez". Ring Side Report. Archived from the original on 2007-08-23. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
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- Sagat Petchyindee. Siamfightmag.com. Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
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- YouTube. YouTube. Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
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- Nelson wins title. Nytimes.com (1984-12-10). Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
- "Wilfredo Gómez – Lineal Jr. Lightweight Champion". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia.
- Gabriel Cordero (2006-11-01). "Los 50 años de Wilfredo Gómez" (in Spanish). Lo Mejor del Boxeo. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- Jason Gonzalez (2006-02-21). "Q&A: Wilfredo Gomez!". Fightnews.com. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Gustavo Ampudia (2003-05-18). "¡Mil gracias, mi Panamá!" (in Spanish). La Prensa. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Robert Dominguez (2003-09-25). "A Boxer's Saga, Blow By Blow". The Puerto Rico Herald. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Bazooka: The Battles of Wilfredo Gómez". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- Scoop Malinowski. "Boxing Legend Biofile: Wilfredo Gomez". Boxing Insider. Archived from the original on 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2007-09-25.
- VIOLENCIA DOMESTICA: – Archivo Digital de Noticias de Colombia y el Mundo desde 1.990. eltiempo.com (1994-06-22). Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
- SMASH-HIT GOMEZ FITS THE BILL. The Mirror. London, England. (February 12, 2000)
- Giudice, Christian (2016) A Fire Burns Within: The Miraculous Journey of Wilfredo 'Bazooka' Gomez. Pitch Publishing. ISBN 9781785311154.
- Salvador Sanchez. BoxRec. Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
- Mario Gonzalez. BoxRec. Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
- Eladio Santana. BoxRec. Retrieved on 2017-07-14.
- Professional boxing record for Wilfredo Gómez from BoxRec
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- Oneeyedfilms.com, "Bazooka: The Battles of Wilfredo Gómez"
- Wilfredo Gómez – CBZ Profile
| Lineal Super Bantamweight Champion
May 21, 1977 – August 1981
| WBC Super Bantamweight Champion
May 21, 1977 – April 1983
| WBC Featherweight Champion
March 31, 1984 – December 8, 1984
| Lineal Junior Lightweight Champion
May 19, 1985 – May 24, 1986
| WBA Junior Lightweight Champion
May 19, 1985 – May 24, 1986