Much has changed in George Kambosos Junior’s life in recent months.
Two months ago Kambosos became a father for the first time. Then he moved gyms. And his most recent wins over Brandon Ogilvie and Qamil Balla have seen him catapulted from a young talent on the rise to a serious world title contender.
But there is one thing that hasn’t changed about Kambosos. He’s still ferocious.
The 24-year-old will defend his World Boxing Association Oceania Lightweight title against tough Thai fighter Krai Setthaphon in Melbourne on October 13. It will be Kambosos’ first fight in Melbourne and one he hopes is another step on the path towards a world title.
Kambosos is already ranked No.7 in the WBA and is Australia’s No.1 lightweight with an unblemished 12-0 professional record including six knockouts. But a win over Setthaphon would help set up a massive bout against the WBA’s No.3-ranked fighter, veteran Haitian Evens Pierre.
Since returning from a grueling six-week training camp with boxing legend Manny Pacquiao under the watchful eyes of Freddie Roach and Justin Fortune, Kambosos has moved his own base to Gairy St. Clair’s gym at Gymea.
And Kambosos told the Leader while he had some grand plans on the horizon the only thing he was focused on was beating Setthaphon, a three-time WBC Asia champion with an impressive record of 25 wins and two losses.
“This is a huge fight. Not only am I defending my [WBA] No.7 rating but I’m defending my Oceania title,” he said.
“This guy is no mug. He’s a tough guy who can take shots. He went the distance with the world-rated Japanese fighter [Masayoshi] Nakatani recently. And it’s a good opportunity for him as well. It’s not every day you get to fight the world No.7.
“I know what it’s like chasing a world rating. How much you put into it and how much you want it. But unfortunately for him it’s not going to be enough. There’s too much of my future on the line. If he thinks he can beat me he’d better wake up.”
It will be the Sylvania fighter’s first bout in Melbourne and Kambosos is hoping to harness the support of the prominent Greek community. Kambosos has joined up with Big Time Boxing promoter Brian Amatruda and hopes to follow in the footsteps of former Australian heavyweight champion Stan ‘the Man’ Longinidis and multiple world kickboxing champion ‘Iron’ Mike Zambidis.
“I want to put on a great show,” he said.
“Melbourne has one of the biggest Greek communities outside of Athens in the world. I get messages almost every day from people asking me when I’m coming down to Melbourne.
“Sydney is my home and I want to stay here. I’ve got a good camp here and my family. [But] if everything goes well I could see more fights in Melbourne in the future, title fights. I’m bringing boxing back to life in Australia with my charisma, the way I fight and the way I talk. I’m perfect for Australian boxing. Whether people love me or hate me they’re going to be watching.”
There may have been some changes outside the ring with his new daughter and a change of training location but Kambosos said he hadn’t allowed anything to become a distraction in his quest for a world title.
“Nothing has changed with my training. If anything I’m training harder with [my daughter] in my head,” he said.
“I want to give her a better life through my hard work. I don’t want her life to be a hard life. I want to give her everything. She has inspired me so much. It’s crazy, people said before I was focused but now I’m just a total beast. No distractions, full tunnel vision on the way to the title.
“We’re bringing her to Melbourne. Not to the fight, I think that’d be too noisy for her. But I like to have her with me. She’s a good sleeper so she lets me sleep. She’s awesome. And my partner Rebecca is handling things so well. I’m very lucky.
“Just working continuously on those little one per cent things has me feeling like I’m a complete fighter now. I’m 100 per cent, it’s all down to timing now. We get a win on October 13, then line up the No.3 in the world and move on to bigger and better things. I thrive on the big fights.”
George Kambosos Junior (Sylvania, Australia) vs Krai Setthaphon (Thailand)
WBA Oceania Lightweight Championship
at the Melbourne Pavilion, October 13.