By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing
IBF #1 lightweight George “Ferocious” Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) talks to Fightnews.com® about challenging IBF, WBC, WBO, WBA champion Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) promoted by Triller Fight Club (Snoop Dog and Ryan Kavanaugh). Site and venue are still to be announced, but Kambosos has an inkling of when and where it will land.
Congratulations on a great winning IBF purse bid of over $6 million from Triller Fight Club for Teofimo Lopez versus George Kambosos. Did you have any idea Triller would be bidding?
I did hear there was some interest from Triller but I didn’t know they were going to come in and outbid everyone. The fight game is changing. Especially in America. Triller did the Mike Tyson versus Roy Jones exhibition, but this is the first proper boxing championship. This is history for Triller as well. What a fight to promote with all the belts on the line!
Eddie Hearn showed a lot of interest by bidding for the fight. Did you know he was interested?
I fought on Matchroom last fight when I beat Selby. I have a lot of respect for Eddie Hearn. After the purse bid he said how happy he was and what a good fight Lopez-Kambosos is and good they will be paid well. The promoters and managers are already rich. It’s the fighters who put their lives on the line that need to be paid well.
Bob Arum at one point was interested in promoting the Lopez versus Kambosos in Australia. Did he lose interest in coming to Australia?
No, Bob Arum didn’t lose interest. It was Australian promoter Brian Amatruda and Mick Gatto who were putting on the show. These guys came up with the money to bring Lopez out. They were coming to Australia. We had the deal on the table for it. I got to show a lot of love to Brian Amatruda and Mick Gatto. They know real boxing.
The quarantine issue with COVID-19 was the problem with what the Australian Open tennis suffered with tennis players not happy with 14-day quarantine in hotels. Bob tried to strike a deal with Lopez but he never offered us anything.
Has there been a venue and date mentioned for Lopez-Kambosos?
I am hearing May 29 in Miami. We will have to wait and see. Miami will be great. That is where I train in the USA. I am training with Mick Akkawy at the Akkawy Gym in Sydney at this time. We are doing fantastic work putting a great game plan together. I am training extremely hard with my strength and conditioning trainer. I will be back in the USA in two or three weeks ready for a big twelve-week camp with my trainer Javiel Centeno.
Do you see flaws in the boxing style and technique of Teofimo Lopez that you can capitalize on?
I see so many flaws and holes in Lopez. I can’t believe how much they are hyping up this kid because he had the win over Lomachenko who didn’t throw a punch for seven rounds. I see the flaws. I have a good boxing IQ. My explosive power is going to shock him – my movement- my footwork. I just know I am a better fighter than him.
You worked as chief sparring partner to boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, doing 250 rounds in three of his world title bouts. Did he ever hurt you in sparring?
I was never hurt in sparring with Pacquiao. We did 250 rounds. I was never staggered. We had such great sparring. I learned so much from him. Manny is legendary. He is up there with the all-time greats. That sparring with Manny is the ace in my sleeve. What can Lopez do to me after doing 250 rounds with Manny Pacquiao? I am going to beat Lopez.
That will be bigger than what any other boxer has done from Australia including Jeff Fenech and Lionel Rose. I will go down as the best ever from Australia. Beating Lopez will not be a shock to me and my team. It’s a very exciting time.
Japanese boxer Myoshi Nakatani took Lopez the twelve round distance. Do you feel Lopez’ power is overrated
Nakatani and Lomachenko both took Lopez the distance. He throws his right hand shot, but I know exactly how to get away from it. He has a dangerous left hook but I have a good left hook also. He doesn’t have my speed or work rate. I believe he has engine problems. His stamina is not elite. He has good punching power. He is a minimal puncher. He is a one-two puncher. He makes a lot of mistakes and is only 23 years. This is a fantastic time to get him when he is on top of the world. He has all this fame and he thinks he is untouchable. Everyone has been scared of Lopez father and son. They have gone into a shell. I am going to say, ‘Hey Lopez Junior / Lopez Senior. I am coming straight for you. Do something about that!’
The lightweight division is very exciting with Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia, and Devin Haney being stars of that weight class. Are you looking forward to fights with them?
I am looking forward to fighting them. I had a great Facetime with Ryan García last Saturday. He sent me a great message. Ryan was in Miami. He was with my manager Peter Kahn. Ryan showed me a lot of respect and is backing me to beat Lopez and said you got to give me the first crack at the titles. Ryan García is fast with good power. Gervonta Davis has good power also. I don’t rate Devin Haney. I don’t believe he is a true champ. He loves to talk.
Former world champions Lovemore Ndou and Jeff “Hitman” Harding have both predicted you will defeat Lopez.
Lovemore was a great world champion and a fantastic man. I am going to read his new book “ Tough Love” that has just come out. I am going to get my hands on it. Lovemore has always been a big supporter of my career. Lovemore has been in there with Miguel Cotto and Saul Alvarez. He sparred with me a few years ago and predicted then I would be world champion
Jeff is an absolute legend of our sport. I have had the privilege of having a chat with him a few times at Marrickville. When he won that WBC title in America in 1989 it was inspirational. Former world champion Danny Green, Gairy StClaire, Will Tomlinson all reached out to me. I take this support with me.