By: Sean Crose
“I give them as much inspiration and motivation as I can.”
So says lightweight contender, George Kambosos Jr, who, at 13-0, will be making his American debut this Saturday evening at Connecticut’s Foxwoods Resort and Casino against the 13-6-1 Jose Forero. Kambosos is certainly a fighter to watch, one who employs lightning fast speed and an ability to work both the head and body simultaneously. The Sydney, Australia native also possesses an engaging, outgoing personality, which lends itself well to the contemporary American fight scene. As much as he longs for ring success, however – and the man certainly wishes to attain considerable heights – Kambosos also wants to help those in need, namely those who live through the type of experience he had growing up.
Photo Credit: George Kambosos Jr. Twitter Account
“I was always a heavy kid,” he says. “I was bullied at school.” Now a rising star in the fight game, the fighter helps bullied children as much as possible. ”We put out a real good motivational video on YouTube,” he says. The inspirational piece had over a million views. Unfortunately, YouTube took the video down, apparently for reasons connected to the audio. Kambosos, however, is still engaged. As he says, his experience has: “made me a better person.”
As a young man in Sydney, Kambosos’ eagerness to not only get in shape, but to stay there, led the young man to a local boxing gym – and things were never the same. “As soon as I started working at the gym,” Kambosos says, “I fell in love with the sport.” Kambosos may not be widely unknown in America at the moment, but his US debut comes with an impressive pedigree behind it. Aside from an amateur experience that took him around the world, the lightweight has also sparred quite a bit with a genuine legend. “Manny’s an all-time great,” he says of the one and only Manny Pacquiao, who Kambosos was a sparring partner for in the lead up to last year’s controversial welterweight title bout with Jeff Horn. “He’s a guy I look up to.”
Kambosos didn’t just trade a few punches with Pacquiao, his role was to legitimately help train the titlist for the Horn match. “Manny has extreme speed and so do I,” says Kambosos. “He’s still got it when he’s on.” Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, Kambosos agrees with many people when it comes to the most controversial judges’ cards of last year. “I still believe he won the (Horn) fight,” Kambosos states. In fact, the up and comer isn’t of the opinion that the Filipino legend is washed up. “On his (best) day, I still believe he can be anybody,” Kambosos says of Pacquiao.
Kambosos is no mere sparring partner, though. Put simply, he’s a fighter on the rise. “We’ve got Lou DiBella behind me now,” he says. DiBella, one of the top promoters in boxing, knows how to move a fighter along, something Kambosos is grateful for. Provided Saturday goes as planned (“We take this guy out. We look great.”), Kambosos is ready to make his move towards the top of the division. “Another three or four fights, we’ll definitely be in line for a title fight,” he says. Already well known in his native land, Kambosos now wants his fame to grow. “Back in Australia,” he says, “it’s hard to walk down the street.”
That may not be the case for Kambosos in America – but he aims to change all that, starting this weekend in Connecticut. “We want the big fights in America,” he says, “and we want the stardom.” As Kambosos makes clear: “We want to take a risk…we want to chase the big boys here in America.” Kambosos is aware of the fact that a winning personality can help take a fighter far. “It’s very important in the American scene,” he says. If things go as planned, the lightweight’s formula of ring and personal appeal will be an irresistible combination for fight fans. “I think the Americans are going to love it,” he says. “It’s going to keep building, bigger and stronger.”
First, though, there’s the matter of Forero. “He’s a solid puncher,” Kambosos says of this weekend’s foe. Perhaps more importantly, “he’s coming in with nothing to lose.” Sure enough, a victory over a lauded rising star would be a huge career builder for any fighter. Kambosos, however, isn’t worried. “I love the pressure,” he says. “That’s why we’re here.” It helps to have a solid background behind him as he makes his stateside debut. “I started boxing at eleven years of age,” he says. “I got a good, solid base from that system.” Plus, training for Saturday has gone well.
“It’s been a good camp,” Kambosos states in regards to his preparation, adding he’s been working with “real quality guys.” One of those guys, of course, is his trainer. “I hooked up with the guys in America,” he recalls, “with Justin Fortune.” A former heavyweight of note, Fortune is, like Kambosos, an Australian who made his way to America to at least in part capitalize on the fight game. Now a respected trainer, Fortune has impressed his young contender. “Justin’s great,” Kambosos says. “We gel very, very well.” Although he was once with Kostya Tszyu’s gym in Australia and helped Pacquiao alongside Freddie Roach, Kambosos is happy with the man he has in his corner, just like he is with his career at the moment.
As the interview winds down, Kambosos tells of the time he was working with Pacquiao, how his partner was about to give birth to his daughter – now nine months old. “Your life’s going to change,” Pacquiao told him. It was a prediction that happily turned true. Kambosos’ life may change again after he makes his American debut this Saturday. And, if he has his way, the lightweight division will feel the effects.