June 24, 2021

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Aussie fighter's $2.7m plunge into murderer's row

7 min read
Once an overweight kid, George Kambosos Jr is now daring the champion of the world...

Once an overweight kid, George Kambosos Jr is now daring the champion of the world to punch him in the stomach.

"I just finished up my 2000 sit-ups that I do every routine, every night," Kambosos tells Wide World of Sports after he picks up the phone in Miami.

"I've been doing a fair bit of abs obviously throughout my whole career but I've really upped the tempo now. I'm doing about 5000 a day, if not more.

"I'm going to be in peak condition by the time June 19 (June 20 AEST) comes. I'm gonna let Teofimo Lopez hit me straight in the body, I'm gonna make sure he breaks his hand."

American star Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) holds the IBF, WBA, WBO and Ring Magazine lightweight world titles, after beating the legendary Vasiliy Lomachenko last year. He also owns a version of the WBC title, meaning Australia's Kambosos – who earned an IBF mandatory challenge with a 19-0 run – is fighting for five belts.

Kambosos, who trains in Miami under Javiel Centeno, has arrived at a bona fide boxing murderer's row. The lightweight division is stacked, meaning that Lopez is being talked-up for a multitude of other fights.

But Kambosos is adamant that he belongs, that he will take down Lopez at Miami's loanDepot Park and shock the world; then take those other blockbuster bouts for himself.

"I believe he fears me," Kambosos said.

"I believe that he doesn't want to talk too much about me and he wants to try to play it down, because he knows what a fight this is. The real boxing media, the real boxing fans, know what a fight this is going to be and how dangerous a fight this is for him. How my talent and what I bring to the table can really upset the apple cart.

"I'm going in there with that exact mentality, I'm coming to win this fight. It's not about the money, it's about the legacy, and I'm coming with everything I've got."

https://www.instagram.com/p/CPb79OZg7Pv/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp

Kambosos used to be the pudgy kid who got picked last for school sports. Now, he's on the brink of being world champion and insists that he will rule his division like a warrior. Instead of standard modern boxing fare, where champions so often avoid their prime rivals, Kambosos wants to fight everybody.

"All of them. This is about legacy and I'll go for the biggest name," Kambosos said.

"I think the biggest name out of all these other guys, with the biggest following is Ryan Garcia. I'd be looking for him first.

"Then you've got loud mouth Devin Haney. I'd love to take him out. Then obviously [Gervonta] Davis is still bouncing around 130, 135, but wherever he places himself, that's another guy too.

"I've got all these guys in my mind, I want to fight these guys; but the most important thing, my tunnel vision, is on Teofimo Lopez. That's the guy in front of me at the moment, he's the No.1 at this stage.

"But this victory will change things and it's going to open up a lot of doors for everyone in Australia. I've taken the hard road, I've come over here multiple times and once I win all these belts, I'll come back to Australia with all the aces. I'll hold everything.

"I want to bring all these Americans back to Australia. Come and fight me, like I've had to do the hard yards.

"There's so many great fights. I can fight Lomachenko. I can give Lopez a rematch. I can bring out a big name from 140 [pounds], bring them down. I can bring a big name from super-feather and bring them up.

"There are so many great names in the world, especially in America. It's a great time but that's all to come. This is my time and place to get rid of Lopez, that's the only man I'm thinking about. I don't care about anyone else."

Kambosos will get a $2.7 million pay day for fighting Lopez. He is the subject of Hollywood-calibre fight promos from Triller, who swooped in with the massive purse. He has been getting around the US in a private jet and is about to fight for all the belts.

He reckons that chubby kid from his childhood would be proud.

"Certain Australian fighters want to talk about how they want to get the big boys, the international guys; well, I'm one of the big boys, I'm in the international league, I'm in the major league right now," he said.

"He'd be very proud, because I've changed my whole life and I've inspired and motivated many people around me and all over the world.

"But I think he'd be saying, 'Come on, one more. One more victory and then you've left your legacy'. I could retire … I won't but after this victory, I could retire and say, 'I'm done, I just won every single belt in boxing. I am boxing now'.

"But that young kid would be saying, 'One more. One more victory'. That's what I'm saying to myself right now, 'One more victory, one more win and you've done it. You've achieved everything that you set out to do, the mission to become a world champion. In one hit, you got 'em all, you won everything'."

There will be no stopping after this because Kambosos, if he beats Lopez, intends to bring all his belts back to Australia and defend them on home turf in spectacular fashion. Big stadium shows; as he'd intended the Lopez fight to be, if not for COVID-19.

"It'll be fantastic. Wherever I fight in Australia, it's gonna be a sell-out, it will be huge," Kambosos said.

"It will be a massive show and it will be real boxing, real world-class fights. No gimmicks, no circuses, no fights where people don't want to watch it and are only going there for a circus. Real boxing, how it's meant to be.

"I've always wanted to be that real fighter and that's why I went to the US, to fight with the real fighters, to challenge myself. But everything has a time and place. I always said I'd come back for the big fight, the world title fight; but unfortunately, with the world we live in, it couldn't happen.

"We've seen with Triller, coming in with so much money, everything happens the way it's meant to be, but I'm sure I'll come back to Australia when I have all those beautiful four world titles around my waist."

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION: A MURDERER'S ROW

Teofimo 'The Takeover' Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) – USA, age 23

– IBF, WBA (super), WBO, Ring Magazine world champion, WBC franchise champion

– Won IBF world title with second-round TKO of Richard Commey

– Won WBA (super), WBO, RIng Magazine, WBC franchise world titles with unanimous decision over Vasiliy Lomachenko

Gervonta 'Tank' Davis (24-0, 23 KOs) – USA, age 26

– WBA (regular) lightweight world champion, WBA (super) super featherweight world champion. Beat Leo Santa Cruz by sixth-round KO in last title defence

– Former IBF super featherweight world champion; first won title with seventh-round TKO of Jose Pedraza

– Fighting Mario Barrios for WBA (regular) super lightweight title in June, bidding to become three-weight world champion

Devin 'The Dream' Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) – USA, age 22

– WBC world champion

– Won WBC interim world title against Zaur Abdullaev (retired after four rounds), then elevated to WBC world champion in 2019, when Vasiliy Lomachenko was promoted to franchise champion; becoming world's youngest champion

– Beat Jorge Linares by unanimous decision in title defence last weekend

Ryan 'King Ry' Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) – USA, age 22

– WBC interim world champion

– Won WBC interim world title with seventh-round TKO of Luke Campbell

– Scheduled for mandatory title defence against Javier Fortuna but has taken leave for health/personal problems

Vasiliy 'Hi Tech' Lomachenko – (14-2, 10 KOs) – Ukraine, age 33

– Former WBA (super), WBC, WBO, Ring Magazine world champion. Former WBO super featherweight and featherweight world champion

– Dual Olympic gold medallist

– 396-1 amateur record before turning pro

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