George Kambosos Jr v Vasiliy Lomachenko: Why careers are on the line in world title fight

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They will be fighting for the IBF lightweight world title, with two other world titles to be contested on the card as well, but for Kambosos, it’s about more than a belt.

It’s about more than money, titles, fame, or fast cars.

“This fight rejuvenates my career. It’s redemption,” the 30-year-old said on Wednesday. “I’ve been in big fights, won big fights, lost big fights. This is about legacy.

“It’s not about money, or winning a world title. It’s legacy. And that’s the same for Lomachenko.

“Our careers are on the line. Legacy is on the line.”

Watch Kambosos Jr vs Lomachenko on Main Event and Kayo

After scoring one of the greatest upsets in Australian boxing history when he dropped and out-pointed Teofimo Lopez in 2021, Kambosos lost two decisions to Devin Haney in 2022, and edged a hugely controversial decision against England’s Maxi Hughes last year.

Ukrainian Lomachenko is coming off his own hotly debated defeat to Haney, and the Aussie says the loser is unlikely to get another chance to win a world title in the future.

“This is the biggest fight in Australian boxing history,” the Sydneysider said. “It’s about legacy and showing that only one of us will continue with their career.

“One of us will go not where we want to go.

“So, I’m very motivated, I know he’s motivated, and on May 12 a true war will come to Perth.”

It was an actual war that stopped the pair meeting two years ago.

Negotiations were well advanced for a lightweight blockbuster between them, before Russia invaded Ukraine.

“When the Russians attacked Ukraine, Lomachenko immediately left, flew to Romania and drove to the suburb of Odessa where he lives,” legendary promoter Bob Arum said. “He put on a uniform to defend his country.

“He’s an exemplary person, a family man and everything that could be good about the sport of boxing is personified in Vasiliy Lomachenko.

“Fans in Perth will fall in love with Lomachenko, even though he’ll be fighting an Aussie. He’s such a gentleman and a sterling person.”

A defensive wizard with the best footwork in boxing, Lomachenko was the longtime unified lightweight world champion before losing the belts to Lopez in 2020.

His controversial decision defeat to Haney aside, Lomachenko remains one of the most gifted fighters on the planet and Kambosos has enlisted a new trainer to prepare for the biggest test of his career.

“I’ve linked up with a great trainer, Anton (Kadushin), who’s from Russia,” Kambosos said. “He’s been involved in tournaments and knows the European, Russian and old Soviet style.

“It’s destiny. It’s meant to be.”

The pair remained respectful during their first press conference together on Wednesday, but Kambosos did react to Lomachenko’s assessment of his two performances against Haney.

“It’s two different fights, two different styles,” Loma said.

“If you’re talking about my fight, I didn’t lose – in my opinion.

“If we’re talking about Kambosos-Haney, Kambosos had a good chance, but he lost.”

Kambosos hit back: “I respect what he’s saying, but there’s a guy, Teofimo Lopez, who you had your chance against as well, and unfortunately you didn’t take your chance.

“I did.

“The past is the past, I’ve got a great team lead by Anton, and we’re coming for victory.”

The bout will be the third major world title fight Kambosos has bought to Australia, following his pair of scraps with Haney.

Two more world title fights will be added to the card and announced in the coming weeks.

Originally published as George Kambosos Jr v Vasiliy Lomachenko: Why careers are on the line in world title fight

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