If George Kambosos Jr. learned anything in 2021, it’s that you need a good lawyer to navigate the often murky and unpredictable environment that is the world of boxing.
But, after a few false starts, the Australian is just days away from what is the biggest fight of his career: a showdown with the unified lightweight champion. Teofimo López (16-0, 12 KOs).
The script for this fight reads a bit like a poorly written Hollywood drama, but unfortunately for Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) it was a reality.
Lopez’s positive COVID-19 test within days of their June 19 fight date, disagreements over the date and venue change, a complete disintegration of the deal with the original Triller promoters, a subsequent lawsuit, and personal joy and sorrow have taken hold. makes 2021 a “roller coaster” for the 28-year-old challenger.
But where others might have stepped away from the daily grind, Kambosos says his goal has never wavered and he’s ready to stun the world and create Australian boxing history.
“Mentally, everyone knows Kambosos is very strong,” he told ESPN. “I stayed very patient and worked every day, day after day, and I knew that every day I was getting better and better. And when the fight came, I would be 110% ready.
“I took it as a war of attrition, day after day you were fighting your battles with yourself to get better and better – that’s the way I saw it. War is not won by one day it takes a long time, and I ‘I have this unbreakable state of mind. If I go back eight weeks ago, I had the birth of my third child, my son, and the same day , my grandfather, George Kambosos, has passed away, but I was still training that day, that’s the kind of fighter I am.
When Kambosos found out Lopez had tested positive he was already at his hotel in Miami awaiting the fight, but said he still went to train after the news broke.
“I haven’t taken my foot off the pedal in ages. That’s how I’ve always been,” Kambosos said. “People say it’s been a long preparation, they ask ‘Are you exhausted or are you tired?’, And I say ‘It’s too big to be tired.’ It’s something I’ve been pursuing since I was 11, when I first walked into a boxing gym. “
While Lopez’s positive coronavirus test sparked a chain of events that brought the lawyers up, it also allowed Kambosos to return home to Australia as talks about a date change unfold.
He was forced to undertake the two-week hotel quarantine that was in place for any returning Aussie at that time – something that UFC country featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is now well used to – but to on the other side of this passage, Kambosos was reunited with his family.
And that, he says, only fueled his desire to stay the course in his pursuit of the WBA, WBO, IBF, WBC and Ring Magazine lightweight titles.
“When I got home to see my kids, it really cemented that motivation, that inspiration,” Kambosos explained. “Having been away from them, I was like ‘you know what, that kid Teofimo Lopez, he took it all for granted.’
“It took me a long time, special time with my kids, to a point where they had grown so much; it took me about a week and a half to get back into the water. [family routine] because they had changed so much.
“And even now, my newborn baby, he’s 7-8 weeks old, he changes every day and I can’t be there. That’s the kind of sacrifice you make.
“But that inspiration, when I could see them and kept pushing and grinding every day, it kindled another spark; not that I needed more spark or fire, but she burned that blazing fire even more I said I’m going to have this kid [Lopez] and when I get him, he’s going to pay for it all. “
While a new date, November 27 – and promoter, Matchroom Boxing – was finally set early last month, Kambosos was chastened by the experience of dealing with the original bout promoter, Triller.
Allegations of breaches of contract and disagreements have seen Kambosos files legal action against Triller, while the IBF then abandoned the video-sharing social networking business and beginners in sports promotion have the right to organize the fight.
Kambosos’ trial is ongoing, as well as the Australian’s learning curve when it comes to the business side of boxing.
“The only thing I’ve learned is that you have to have a good legal team with you, the right people with you, and I have a very good team around me,” he told ESPN. “But sometimes things happen that are not under your control, a champion thing and everything has gone wrong.
“From a legal standpoint at this point I’m not focusing on any of this; I’m sure there will be more going on between Triller and the IBF, but that’s not even my problem. I’m focused on winning this fight, winning these belts on a big promotion like Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom promotion, and bringing those belts all the way to Australia and bringing some big fights Down Under. [afterwards].
When Kambosos hits the Australian boxing scene, his disapproval targets a local market dominated by former footballers looking for a quick paycheck to get into boxing.
He respects the accomplishments of compatriot Tim Tszyu – the junior middleweight moved closer to a world title fight with victory over Takeshi Inoue in Sydney last week – but Kambosos says his journey to the mandatory IBF challenger was won the hard way abroad.
After a slow burn, people finally came to recognize it.
“It’s huge, and the support when I was back in Australia was huge. Everywhere I went, when the fight was looking for a new date, everyone was saying ‘when is the fight, what is the new date. “Everyone was pumped and super excited,” Kambosos said.
“From a social media perspective it’s gone crazy, everyone is looking forward to this fight. And it’s huge, not just in Aussie boxing but in the history of Aussie sport, and the way I did it, I really deserved it the hardest way.
“And that’s another pot of fish [to Tim Tszyu] – I fight the undisputed champion and the guy who has all the belts, the fighter of the year 2020, one of the five best fighters pound for pound in the world, that’s who I’m fighting, not a guy who is there to make them look good, let them fight for a certain program.
“Australia will know when I get home with all the belts on who is the emperor of Australian boxing.”
However, when the bell rings on Saturday night, all the build-up, distractions and drama, the push for greater recognition in his homeland, will be forgotten.
And Kambosos firmly believes that there is only one result to come in New York.
“On paper it’s a very good fight,” he said when asked to describe the game. “This is a fight between two of the best lightweight in the world. You have the current number 1, who has all the belts, who was the fighter of the year 2020 after shocking [Vasiliy] Lomachenko. And on the other hand you have the No. 1 challenger, the mandatory, the guy who deserved his mandatory position, he didn’t just have it, I had to go and win my shot in defeating another No. 1 challenger in Lee Selby in his hometown. So it’s an explosive shootout.
“But most believe I do everything better; I’m faster, I’m more explosive. They talk about his punching power, but anyone who’s been in those ropes with me knows firsthand the punching power I have. I’ve fought welterweights and junior middleweights and they can’t believe how hard I hit, so whatever I do is better.
“Even if they wanted to do 15 laps the old fashioned way, I would do 15 laps if they want to. We are ready, we are ready for a massive victory and to shock the world. A lot of people believe in me, a lot of People don’t believe in me, but the most important thing is that I believe in me. And when you have that confidence and that character, that’s what makes a champion. “