George Kambosos Junior spars Manny Pacquiao ahead of Franklin Mamani bout

Learning experience: Sylvania fighter George Kambosos Junior is in the Philippines sparring boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Pictures: Chris Hyde/Chris Lane
Learning experience: Sylvania fighter George Kambosos Junior is in the Philippines sparring boxing legend Manny Pacquiao. Pictures: Chris Hyde/Chris Lane

Not many athletes ever get the chance to work with a legend of their sport.

But George Kambosos Junior is one of the lucky few.

The Sylvania fighter is in the Philippines working as a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao ahead of the 11-time world champion’s fight against Jeff Horn in Brisbane next month.

Kambosos flew out of Sydney last Thursday night for the 20-day camp which will also act as preparation for his own upcoming bout with Franklin Mamani at Rosehill Racecourse on June 24.

The 23-year-old will defend his WBA Oceania title and vie for the vacant WBC and IBF Regional titles against the experienced Bolivian who has fought for the world title.

Kambosos, now ranked No.9 in the WBA, has been in the best hands possible during this preparation. As well as the invaluable experience of competing in more than 50 rounds of sparring with Pacquiao, Kambosos is also under the expert tutelage of Pacquiao’s legendary trainer Freddy Roach.

Having worked previously with Pacquiao’s Australian conditioner Justin Fortune in Los Angeles, Kambosos is now not only in peak physical condition but making great strides in his improvement as a fighter.

Kambosos told the Leader the experience would prove invaluable.

Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao training last month. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao training last month. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

“You’ve seen in my last couple of fights that going to the US and sparring against top guys I’m coming back and putting in top performances like I did with [Brandon] Ogilvie and [Qamil] Balla,” he said.

“To spar with a living legend and talk boxing with him is an experience. To be working with him will take me to another level. I’m taking a risk but it’s what I’ve got to do.

“It’s everything he does. The way he trains. He’s one of the hardest working fighters and so am I. I’m chasing my goal and get to see first hand an 11-time world champ do it his way.

“Everyone talks about how fast he is so I’m keen to match our speeds together. He’s a big hitter too so my defence is going to have to be real sharp. But mainly just the confidence of working with him.”

Kambosos, Australia’s No.1 lightweight, could be looking at his farewell fight in his home country against Mamani, with a victory likely to propel him towards a big bout in the US.

George Kambosos Junior at Luna Park ahead of his victory over Brandon Ogilvie in December last year. Picture: John Veage

George Kambosos Junior at Luna Park ahead of his victory over Brandon Ogilvie in December last year. Picture: John Veage

“I’m feeling sharper and faster now. I’m very confident against Mamani I will put on another great performance and knock him out,” he said.

“It’ll be another big crowd. My fan base is just getting bigger with every fight and more momentum. There’s so much interest, we’re struggling to find venues to fit everyone in. 

“It’ll be one of the biggest fights of the year and possibly the end of a chapter in Australia for a while. I believe I’m ready [for the US]. Everyone in the team believes so. Justin and Freddy believe so. There’s a few major players in the world chasing us. We need to weigh up our options.”

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