By Anthony Cocks
World ranked Sydney lightweight George “Ferocious” Kambosos 14-0 (8) believes he is as little as a year away from a world title shot after spending six weeks in the Philippine mountains training alongside 11-time world champion Manny Pacquiao.
“I always put in 110% no matter what in camp, but being in a Pacquiao camp and the main sparring partner once again with a legendary fighter like Manny Pacquiao just takes my fight game to another level,” said Kambosos this week.
The 25-year-old Australian was drafted into camp in late May after impressing the Pacquiao team with his hard work and determination last year when he flew to the Philippines to be part of their camp for the ill-fated Jeff Horn fight.
The move drew criticism from some quarters with Kambosos being accused of “helping the enemy”, but the self-proclaimed “bad guy of Australian boxing” jumped at the opportunity to learn from one of the world’s best.
“Doing these world title camps alongside him gets me doing all the one percenters that are vital to becoming world champion,” said Kambosos, who is trained by Pacquiao’s strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune.
“I have prepared exactly the same as Manny has. We sparred together, we ran the mountains together and we put in countless hours in the gym together, so for me this camp has been like I’m fighting for a world title, which is very important at this stage of my career because I take every fight just like I am, because one slip up and that road to the lightweight title just becomes a lot harder.”
Kambosos will face once-beaten Filipino JR Magboo 17-1-2 (8) on the undercard of the WBA “regular” welterweight title fight between Lucas Matthysse and Manny Pacquiao this Sunday local time at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in an eight round contest.
With the recent “basketbrawl” between the Australian and Filipino national basketball teams still fresh in the minds of many in the South East Asian region, it will be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to an Australian boxer facing a Filipino.
“This is a huge show for a Greek-Australian fighter to feature on and I’m fully prepared and excited for the task ahead and with the statement I know I will make,” Kambosos said. “Fighting a Philippine fighter with a pro-Asian crowd doesn’t bother me. You’ve got to remember I’m the main sparring partner of Pacquiao, I helped prepare their beloved idol, senator and legendary champion.
“The Philippine people already love Ferocious and wherever I fight the crowd stand and applauds, so there will be no difference out here on this huge fight card.”
The fight will be Kambosos’s second for the year after making his USA debut back in May with a first-round blowout of overmatched Panamanian Jose Forero 13-7-1 (11) at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut in what was his first fight under the DiBella Entertainment banner.
Kambosos sees this weekend’s fight as another opportunity to build his brand with the boxing public ahead of what he hopes will be an imminent shot at the world title.
“The victory against Magboo is another step in the right direction of winning the world title,” said Kambosos. “This fight, like I said earlier, gives me more ring exposure and more opportunities and I’m 110% ready for the challenge.
“My promoter DiBella Entertainment, my managers Peter Kahn and Jim Kambosos and my trainer Justin Fortune as well as myself all know the direction we are heading. We have some very exciting fights in the works, all abroad, and that’s the way I want it, but first I must dispose of Magboo.
“I’m hungry and focused on becoming world champion in the next 12-18 months. Not just fighting for it; winning it, defending it and capturing more until I’m a unified champion.”
KRIS GEORGE ANNOUNCES SURPRISE RETIREMENT AFTER JOSH KELLY DEFEAT
Former Commonwealth welterweight champion Kris George 14-2 (8) will be trading left hooks for fish hooks after the Toowoomba bait and tackle shop owner announced his surprise retirement from boxing this week.
Persistent hand problems brought about a premature end to his boxing career after breaking both his mitts against English prospect Josh Kelly last month.
"Getting back from the UK with two broken hands, I went and saw one of the surgeons who I see regularly," the 28-year-old explained in a video interview posted to the Australian Boxing Central Facebook page.
"He’s one of the best bone surgeons in the country. We looked through the X-rays and he has explained the bone structure to me and said ’Look, there’s not much chance of you getting through any fights with the bone structure you have and the punching power you have. You’re going to break your hands all the time.’
"Looking back, there hasn’t been many fights I’ve gotten through since the (Ozan) Craddock fight (in 2014) that I haven’t broken my hands."
George has scored some spectacular wins in his short pro career, including victories over 2012 Olympian Cameron Hammond, hard-headed Sydney scrapper Jack Brubaker and talented Kiwi Bowyn Morgan. His last five opponents had a combined record of 58-2-2 (37) and three of them were undefeated.
But his fragile hands have caused him problems for more than half of his pro career.
"I’ve gotten by with it somehow,” he said. “I’ve gotten through fights with broken hands, but at the level I want to be at, the level that I got to, you just can’t win fights with broken hands. You just can’t sneak through them. You need everything working 100%.”
In his last fight George travelled to England to defend his Commonwealth crown against highly-touted prospect and former Rio Olympian Josh Kelly 7-0 (5) at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, but his hands let him down once again.
In what was shaping up to be a competitive contest, George injured his right hand in the first couple of rounds before his left gave way in the sixth. His trainer Craig Monagle wisely withdrew him from the bout at the end of the seventh frame.
"I was a little disappointed in that last fight just in the fact I didn’t get to perform as I wanted to. He was obviously a faster, more agile fighter, but my key was to wear him down, break him down, hunt him down late in the fight and I didn’t get to do that.
“You got to see the best of him in the first six rounds but you didn’t get to see the best if me in the back six rounds," he lamented.
Still, George says he is satisfied with his career and what he achieved in the square circle during his six years in the punch-for-pay ranks.
“I always stuck true to myself. I always said I was there to take on the big fights and move as fast as I can. I wasn’t there just to stuff around, I wanted to go as far as I can and take on everything I could. I feel like I did that and I feel like I performed well in most fights. I always showed up and fought my heart out and we got some good wins. And we were never beaten by an Australian, so that is something I can take away,” he said.
George, who was ranked the number two welterweight in Australia for a few years behind only Jeff Horn, rates the Kelly fight as one of the highlights of his 16-fight career.
“Getting to that Josh Kelly fight and headlining a Matchroom show in the UK with a packed out arena was pretty awesome,” he said. “To have that feeling and that experience under my belt and just my whole career pretty much has made me a different person. I’ve changed and I think I’ve become a better person throughout the experience, so I have to thank boxing for that. So no regrets in the end.”
Maxboxing wishes George all the best in retirement.
TERRY TZOURAMANIS PUTS HIMSELF TO THE TEST AGAINST JAYAR INSON ON MATTHYSSE-PACQUIAO UNDERCARD
No-one can accuse Terry Tzouramanis 20-3-3 (3) of shirking a challenge.
This weekend when he steps into the ring against Jayar Inson 16-1 (11) the junior welterweight will be fighting away from home, eight pounds above his natural weight class and against a dreaded southpaw.
But the 33-year-old Melburnian thinks his forward-charging attack will ask questions of the Nonoy Neri-trained Filipino, who is more comfortable boxing at range where he can get leverage on his shots.
“I have seen footage of Inson,” said Tzouramanis. “He is a rangy, counterpunching southpaw. His key strength would be his powerful left hand.
“I think Inson will be uncomfortable with my relentless pressure as he relies on range to set up his left hand. When you’re made uncomfortable, you make mistakes.”
Tzouramanis joins George Kambosos Jr as the only two Australian boxers on the undercard of the Lucas Matthysse versus Manny Pacquiao WBA “regular” welterweight title fight at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia this Sunday.
Tzouramanis has been sparring former world ranked junior welterweight Czar Amonsot 34-4-3 (22) and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Harry Garside to help him adjust to the southpaw angles.
“Between Czar Amonsot and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Harry Garside, I’ve had great consistent southpaw sparring for this fight. It couldn’t get much better than these two boxers,” said Tsozuramanis.
“I last fought a southpaw eight months ago. I have also fought my fair share of southpaws throughout my career both amateur and pro.
“An interesting stat worth noting is that I’ve never lost to a southpaw.”
Although the eight-round bout will be buried deep on the 12-fight undercard that also features three 12-round title bouts of varying quality, a win is expected to be a leap forward in Tzouramanis’s pro career that has largely consisted of domestic-level matchups to date.
“A victory against Inson on this stage will be massive,” said Tzouramanis. “It will leap my career to the next level, which is where I deserve to be. I’ve worked extremely hard for this opportunity and I’m bringing my very best on July 15.”
The career-junior welterweight isn’t expecting any favours from the crowd.
“I am expecting the crowd to heavily favour my opponent,” said Tzouramanis. “However, it makes no difference to me.
“I have a task to complete and that’s where my focus is.”
NORT BEAUCHAMP SHOCKS WBA #12 SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT JOEL BRUNKER
“Aussie” Joel Brunker 33-3 (19) suffered a shock loss to New Zealand southpaw Nort Beauchamp 17-2 (3) on Friday night at the Melbourne Pavilion on the Frank Bianco Cup card promoted by Brian Amatruda’s Big Time Boxing.
The 32-year-old Brunker from Sydney couldn’t get untracked and struggled to find his rhythm against the 5-foot-4 Kiwi. At the end of 10 rounds two of the judges rendered a split decision in favour of the visitor by scores of 99-91 and 96-94 with the third dissenting 93-97.
Despite his polished-looking record Beauchamp’s previous level of opposition leaves a lot to be desired. Eight of his previous wins came against boxers on debut and the two times he had stepped up in class – against Kye McKenzie and Cairo George – he had lost.
Brunker, the WBA number 12 ranked super featherweight, is a great scalp to Beauchamp, who joins Lee Selby and Josh Warrington as the only boxers to have beaten the 36-fight veteran.
Meanwhile the fourth annual Frank Bianco Cup was won by Kiki Toa Leutele 4-0-1 (3) who came into the eight-man single-elimination heavyweight tournament with a record of 1-0-1 (1).
The 24-year-old from Hawkes Bay in New Zealand defeated Queenslanders Casper Turner 1-1 (1) and Brett Jeffrey 3-1 (2) both by second round TKO to earn his spot in the final against Cameroon boxer Christian Ndzie Tsoye 2-1 (1), who he defeated by three-round unanimous decision 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Also on the card WIBA bantamweight champion Cherneka “Sugar Neekz” Johnson moved to 10-0 (5) in a stay-busy fight against Thailand’s Siriphon Chanbuala 12-6-2 (5), knocking her out in the second round of a scheduled six round bout. Johnson looked sharp and fluid, landing damaging shots to the body throughout the contest. Time was 1:45.
Former AFL ruckman Shane Mumford 1-0 (1) got off to a good start in his post-football career, stopping the experienced Kyle Brumby 5-14-3 (1) at 1:31 of the third round in a heavyweight contest scheduled for four.
BEN KELLEHER CLAIMS AUSTRALIAN CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE WITH PONITS WIN OVER JAYDEN NICHOLS
Queenslander Ben Kelleher 9-1-2 (4) was a bit too polished for Tasmanian Jayden “Plugger” Nichols 7-1-1 (1), claiming the Australian cruiserweight title with a 10-round unanimous decision win at the Mansfield Tavern in Brisbane on Saturday by scores of 98-93, 97-93 and 97-94.
“Well guys, didn’t get the win unfortunately,” Nichols posted on Facebook. “But it was a great tough and very close fight. It’s not a loss, it’s a learning curve. I will be back 100%.”
Kelleher, 30, was coming off a four-round decision win over Robert Ferguson in April. His only loss was to WBO number 10 ranked cruiserweight Jai Opetaia by third-round stoppage when he withdrew from the fight after suffering a suspected broken right hand in January.
Nichols won the vacant national crown with a 10-round split decision win over Uria Afamasaga 2-2 (2) in April. The Kelleher fight was his first defence.
Also in action on the Ace Boxing Promotions card April Adams 10-1-1 (3) annexed the vacant WBO Asia Pacific super bantamweight title with a 10-round decision win over Nurshahidah Roslie 8-2 (6) of Singapore. Scores were 98-93, 97-93 and 97-94.
At junior welterweight Jacob Ng 7-0 (5) stopped Victor Odindo 5-1 (5) in the eighth and final round after severe swelling to the South Australian-based Kenyan’s right cheek prevented him from finishing the fight.
Odindo was on the canvas in the fourth but returned the favour in the fifth, sending Ng to the deck. At the time of the stoppage Ng was leading on all three cards 67-64, 67-64 and 68-63.
Justin Frost, 141lb, moved to 6-0 with a six-round majority decision win over Wayde Goltz, 139¾lb. Scores were 59-56, 58-57 and 57-57, all in favour of Frost. Goltz falls to 2-2 (1).
Welterweight Tysinn Best 7-0 (1) outboxed Brisbane-based Thai Winai Tepthanee 0-5 over six, winning by scores of 60-55, 59-55 and 60-54.
At light heavyweight Joseph Liga 4-1-1 (3) stopped Aaron Sesay 1-4 (1) in the third round of a competitive four-round bout after Sesay suffered a dislocated shoulder. Sesay dropped Liga in the first and was leading 19-18 on two of the judges’ scorecards when he was stopped.
LUKE BOYD KEEPS HIS KNOCKOUT STREAK INTACT
Australian super bantamweight champion Luke Boyd 5-0 (5) bowled over Tanawat Phonnaku 31-11-1 (19) of Thailand in the first round of their 10-round bout at the Roma function Centre in Liverpool, Sydney on Friday night.
Also on the Final Round Boxing Promotions card Ty Telford 4-0 (1) boxed his way to an eight round decision win over New Zealand southpaw Ruben Webster 8-2 in a junior middleweight contest.
At heavyweight former professional rugby league forward Willis Meehan 6-0 (5) scored a second round TKO win over Jonasa Kavika 3-1 (2) of Fiji. The 22-year-old southpaw is the son of former heavyweight world title challenger Kali Meehan.
In other results heavyweight Danny Rio 3-2-1 (3) won by TKO1 over Wade Hatch 1-3 in a four round contest. Fellow heavyweight Ben Fetelika 5-4 (2) won a four-round majority decision over Stuart Stokes 0-6.
Debutant Boulos Yako stopped Worawatchai Boonjan 11-15-1 (10) of Thailand in the second round of a scheduled four, while female boxer Malakay Moukayber, also on debut, outpointed Thai Siriwan Thongmanit 6-12-1 over four two-minute rounds.