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George Kambosos Jr wants to be 'lightweight king' again as he prepares to face boxing great Vasiliy Lomachenko

George Kambosos Jr and Vasiliy Lomachenko will fight for the IBF lightweight world title in Perth, Australia on Sunday May 12, live on Sky Sports; Kambosos Jr says victory would keep the door open to huge fights against Gervonta Davis and Shakur Stevenson

Kambosos Jr and Lomachenko will fight live on Sky Sports on May 12
Image: Kambosos Jr and Lomachenko will fight live on Sky Sports on May 12

George Kambosos Jr accepts he will be sharing a ring with a boxing great in Vasiliy Lomachenko next month. But respect will be cast aside when he seeks to blunt the Ukrainian's iconic career in view of reclaiming the lightweight throne. 

The Australian city of Perth awaits as the stage to yet another star-studded lightweight clash on May 12 when Lomachenko travels to Kambosos' back yard to fight for the IBF world title.

Kambosos deems it a contest that sells itself. He is not wrong.

The Australian: a former unified lightweight world champion with a victory over Teofimo Lopez, who defeated Lomachenko, on his record. And Lomachenko: one of the faces of the modern era with Olympic gold medals and world titles in three weight classes to show for his glistening legacy.

"This is the guy who was formerly the pound-for-pound No 1 fighter in the world, a three-division world champion, a two-time Olympic gold medallist," Kambosos told Sky Sports. "So we totally understand his accolades, we respect him of course with what he's done and outside of boxing he's a very good figure for sport.

"But we respect what we've been able to do, too. Styles make fights. And the way we both bring that action, it's gonna be something special. I truly believe this is going be a memorable fight.

"As a man, as a person, as a fighter, you can't fault the guy. But with all that respect, when it comes down to May 12, that respect is out the window and I'm coming to take his head out, and I'm sure he's going to come and do the same thing to me.

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"One career will continue and go back to the number one lightweight in the world, back to lightweight supremacy. Their reign will continue and the other guy, unfortunately will not be able to progress where they want to be. And I'm very confident with my preparation and the way I'm feeling right now that I'll be that guy to continue my reign."

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Maxi Hughes lost his IBO world lightweight title to George Kambosos Jr after a controversial majority decision in Oklahoma.

For Kambosos, it represents a potential bridge to the other marquee names governing things at the top of a stacked division as he returns to action for the first time since beating Maxi Hughes via majority decision last July. Before then, he had suffered back-to-back unanimous decision defeats to former undisputed champion Devin Haney, having truly announced himself in November 2021 by beating Lopez to clinch the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and Ring lightweight titles.

Lomachenko is plotting a response of his own after coming off second-best in a divisive unanimous decision loss to Haney in May 2023, a fight many critics suggested he had won.

Victory is the door to more big nights. Defeat, in contrast, raises unwelcome questions as to next career moves for both.

"A win would put me back to the king of the lightweights," said Kambosos. "I was there not so long ago. Devin Haney was the last guy there, he's vacated, so if we go back on history I'm one of the last one of the lightweights that was king.

"It would push me back in that position. It puts me back to where I want to be, where I'm motivated to be. And I'm 30 years of age. My road continues, my opportunities for bigger fights with the guys like Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson continues and that's what I want, the biggest fights.

"If I can't get over a guy like Lomachenko then that opportunity really does not present itself anymore. I know what's at risk. I know what's at stake for this kind of fight, but that is what is motivating me more and more.

"The bigger the task, the bigger the fight, the better Kambosos will come to the fore and be prepared - so we know what we have to do."

Lomachenko could become the newest addition to the impressive resume pieced together by Kambosos, who continues to embrace the most difficult challenges boxing and his weight class have to offer.

He revealed that preparations for facing the 36-year-old have, in fact, entailed sparring the 'next' Lomachenko.

"I know what he's gonna bring," he said. "You know, I've been sitting there and studying this guy from a young kid, I've been watching Lomachenko.

"When I first turned professional and obviously since the the amateur days I was watching him, him being such a supreme amateur. When you sit there and watch these guys, you understand what you have to do again."

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Devin Haney produced an even more convincing display, leaving George Kambosos Jr bruised and bloodied at the final bell.

It represents a fight long-in-the-making for Kambosos, with plans to face Lomachenko having previously stuttered in light of the Ukrainian's return home following the Russian invasion.

There is an argument success against the much-celebrated technician would warrant another spike in the stock of the Australian, particularly amid the dispute over whether or not Lomachenko had beaten Haney in the pair's enthralling encounter.

"I've been in there with the best. If you look at my track record, the last six, seven fights, you know, former world champions, world champions, undisputed champions, unified champions, two-time gold medallist, the whole lot back-to-back to back, we've consistently wanted to fight the best," he continued.

"Now, unfortunately sometimes I don't get the recognition from certain boxing casuals, but the true boxing fans and true people in this sport respect a guy like Kambosos."

Having shared 24 rounds in a ring together, Kambosos notes how he has since grown to become friends with Haney, who went on to win the WBC super-lightweight title against Regis Prograis in December after his step up in weight.

He knows Lomachenko presents a different kind of fight.

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Devin Haney won a tight unanimous decision over Vasiliy Lomachenko after a highly competitive fight in Las Vegas.

"Haney-Lomachenko? Very, very close fight," Kambosos continued. "In my point of view I think Devin did take that last round and that could have cost Lomachenko that fight but either way, great fight. But again, a lot of people believe Lomachenko won that fight.

"In some eyes Lomachenko possibly could have been the undisputed champion right now, maybe, maybe not. That does present an opportunity for me to go and pull myself back to the top where people are like 'hey, this guy just beat Lomachenko and he was coming off such a close fight with a guy like Devin Haney'.

"You had a guy like Devin Haney who has a superb jab and was extremely avoided and moved the way he did to win them fights. Now Lomachenko is a different style and different kettle of fish, does it erase the losses on paper? Obviously not. But again, I take my wins and my losses the way they come."

In contrast, Kambosos can afford to smile about his no-love-lost relationship with Lopez, who relinquished his titles after losing when the pair met in 2020.

Lopez had been dismissive of Kambosos and the manner in which he emerged victorious. What's to say the pair won't meet again?

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Vasiliy Lomachenko was made to work very hard as he beat Jamaine Ortiz on points to set up a fight with undisputed champion Devin Haney next.

"If he was to walk anywhere near me - and I think it's the same with me walking near him - it will be on," he joked. "We do not like each other. There is bad blood there and and at the end of the day I get the last laugh. I beat him, I took his belts and until he wants to find me on my terms, he can keep crying.

"I respect a battle, a war and a fight so special like with me and Teofimo. It was a special fight for not only Madison Square Garden or for the boxing world, but anyone watching.

"Both young guys, both guys that are hungry and the way the lead-up was, a lot of dates back and forth, and when we did get it on, there was a lot of bad blood and then he couldn't handle that Kambosos came in, beat him up and took everything off him.

"I'm here to beat Lomachenko. That's my full focus, I won't sit here and worry about a guy that I already beat and I'll focus on beating a great in Lomachenko."

From a personal standpoint, Kambosos is relishing the chance to bring another world title fight back to Australia, where he hopes to continue paving the way for more high-profile shows.

"It's massive, a lot of fighters here are doing great things and they bring certain fighters, big-calibre guys, but Kambosos goes out and brings these megastars, these big stars," he said. "Devin Haney twice here and obviously now Lomachenko.

"It's huge and you know, I'm very proud of it because I opened up the doors. But my focus again is winning this fight.

"Doesn't matter where it would be, I have to win this fight."

George Kambosos Jr and Vasiliy Lomachenko will fight for the IBF lightweight world title in Perth Australia on Sunday May 12, live on Sky Sports

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