Yuriorkis Gamboa hires new trainer

Featherweight star Yuriorkis Gamboa, already an offensive force, has hired one of the most offensive-minded trainers in boxing -- Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward.

Ahmet Öner, who co-promotes Gamboa with Top Rank, made the deal with Steward on Wednesday at the annual WBO convention in Puerto Rico.

"It's a great honor that a living legend like Emanuel Steward decided to work with me," Gamboa said. "I'm proud and looking forward to our cooperation. I know that I'm good but I also know that there is always a lot left to learn. Emanuel Steward is one of the most experienced and best trainers in the world."

Steward, 67, has trained dozens of top fighters, although he is best known for his work with all-time greats Thomas Hearns and Lennox Lewis as well as current heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko. Joining Gamboa's camp came as welcome news for Steward, who parted ways with two top fighters in recent months -- junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto and former light heavyweight titlist Chad Dawson.

Steward has watched Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs) from ringside many times in his role as an HBO analyst and has liked what he has seen. So when Gamboa split with trainer Ismael Salas following a lopsided decision victory over former junior featherweight titlist Daniel Ponce De Leon in September and Öner approached him, Steward was interested.

"I'm too old to waste my time, so I pick my fighters very thoroughly," Steward said. "I only work with the best and I see a lot of potential in Gamboa. He's a superstar in the making and I'm excited to be part of this process. I'm looking forward to working with him."

The 29-year-old Gamboa, a 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist who defected before turning pro in 2007, has won two versions of the 126-pound world title that were later stripped by sanctioning organizations.

"Emanuel Steward is one of the best trainers in the world. With Gamboa he now has one of the best fighters in the world," Öner said. "I am very happy with this solution and I hope that Steward will take Gamboa to the next level. Yuri is already a complete fighter but it doesn't matter how good you are. A great trainer will always find a way to make you even better.

"This is a match made in heaven. I am very happy that I was able to make this happen. I am sure that Emanuel Steward will take Gamboa to the next level. For these two the sky is the limit."

Gamboa's next fight is not scheduled, but he could return to action as early as January.

Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.