AUSTRALIA’s premier lightweight will be crowned tonight when undefeated pair George Kambosos Jr and Qamil Balla square off.
Kambosos (11-0, 6 KOs) and Balla (11-0-1, 5 KOs) will be the co-feature bout at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand, where Joseph Parker will defend his WBO heavyweight title for the first time in the main event.
We spoke to our group of industry insiders to get their thoughts on who would win and why.
Ben Damon, MAIN EVENT – Record: 15-11
Kambosos UD10 Balla: This is a fight for the fans – two promising young boxers risking their unbeaten records – to make an attractive, intriguing bout. Both fighters have shown glimpses of global quality, but while there remains some query over Kambosos’ power, his defensive abilities appeared exceptional in his latest win over Brandon Ogilvie.
Balla has a defining victory on his resume also, but it was an inexperienced Jack Brubaker that he beat nearly four years ago. I’ll tip Kambosos to slip and counter to a clear points win.
Adam Wilcock, Promoter/Manager – Record: 17-10
Kambosos W10 Balla: Toss of a coin fight. Great fight for Aussie boxing, but in New Zealand? Obviously the best show available to get both these boys a pay day that reflects the risk in the fight.
For me, both boys have one really notable win each amongst their combined 22 wins. George beat Ogilvie in a really comprehensive performance, and Qamil has a win over Jack Brubaker. I thought Kambosos was really a class above in his last start win, for me he might edge this.
Dan Attias, Columnist – Record: 3-0
Kambosos UD10 Balla: George Kambosos solidified his position as Australia’s number one lightweight with his impressive victory over Brandon Ogilvie last December and it seems as though he has all but outgrown the domestic scene here.
Qamil Balla is a quality fighter himself but I don’t expect him to give Kambosos much trouble at all. George is one of the hardest workers in the game right now and I expect him to make light work of Balla.
Chris McCullen, Trainer – Record: 3-4
Kambosos W10 Balla: A great match up, and a hard one again to pick. I know Qamil, he and his family are genuine people, I would love to see him win. George’s speed might be the difference in a close fight. Balla has a few different styles and will need them all to keep George guessing. I think Kambosos edges him with a close points win.
Neil Devey, Journalist – Record: 5-3
Kambosos W10 Balla: This is the latest in a nice run of domestic fights. First there was Foley against both Borg and Zalewski, then Ogilvie versus Foley and of course Kambosos versus Ogilvie and now Kambosos v Balla. Another to split opinion, Kambosos dealt well with Ogilvie and I’ll back him to do the same here and collect another points win.
Luke Jackson, Featherweight – Record: 0-1
Kambosos UD10 Balla: It’s great to see two young guys going at it to see who the best is. I have shared the ring with both as amateurs and I respect them both. Balla looks very strong and fast but I think at this stage in their careers George is too smart and fresh for Balla. I see George out boxing him and winning a wide unanimous points.
Cody Kaye, Journalist for Fox Sports – Record: 6-2
Kambosos W10 Balla: I love this fight. Two undefeated fighters, both of whom are on the way up and seemingly headed for world titles. It’s a genuine test for both, and I know having spoken with Justin Fortune he’s convinced George can win this fight and win it well.
I expect it to go the distance though, and to be super close on the cards. Still, I like Kambosos to get it done on points. He’s had great work in the US recently and seems ready to take the next step.
Matt Clark, Manager/Advisor – Record: 15-2
Kambosos W10 Balla: It’s a really good fight this one and will probably be fight of the night. Both boys are undefeated and both have similar records. It’s a really close fight, but I think Kambosos might edge it on points. He will have a lot of confidence coming in off a big win over Brandon Ogilvie and might just do enough to get the nod.
Brendan Bourke, Manager/Advisor – Record: 17-5
Kambosos SD10 Balla: Firstly, credit to both teams for taking this fight. I’m really looking forward to this and I think it’s going to be a great fight. I was impressed with Kambosos when he fought Ogilvie so I find it hard to tip against him.
However, Balla fights with good movement and pressure. For me, it’s a split decision either way but I’m going to pick George for the razor thin win.
Sam Labruna, Trainer – Record: 14-5
Balla W10 Kambosos: This is such a great match up and both teams need to be congratulated for putting it all on line. I think it’s a genuine 50/50 fight and I’m tipping Balla to give Kambosos no room and dictate the pace, to outwork him and get an unanimous decision victory. In saying that, if Balla sits on the outside it could go the other way , good luck to both teams
Adam Santarossa, Journalist for News.com.au – Record: 8-2
Kambosos W10 Balla: Balla has some impressive scalps on his resume, but it’s hard to go past Kambosos in this one. I think George has the potential to be the new face of Australian boxing.
His performance against Ogilvie showed he can handle the pressure of a big stage. I think his handspeed will be the difference and he’ll simply out box Balla. This is another great fight for Australian boxing and I think it’s another important test for both man at the right time in their careers.
He’s too proud to come in underdone and I think he’s secretly ready to leave it all on the table in what may be and likely is his final bow. Mundine looks a lot healthier at the bigger weight, it just remains to be seen whether the added kilos impact his style. But I think he can get it done.
Gareth Williams, Trainer – Record: 13-8
Kambosos W10 Balla: I think this is one of the most evenly matched fights Australia could wish for a big congratulations to both boys for taking the challenge and stepping up for this one. I have to go with George on a points decision in this fight.
It will be close but leaning towards Kambosos. I think the fight is so evenly matched but I think George has frustrated Qamil in the lead-up and promotion of the fight. This will help George pick him off with the jab rather than stand and trade.
Brett Bonetti, Journalist for 6PR – Record: 8-2
Kambosos W10 Balla: Another tough fight to pick between two talented Australian prospects. I was impressed with Kambosos in his win over Brandon Ogilive last outing, so I am not picking against him in this one.
I think Balla will try to close the distance early to land body shots eager to slow the pace of Kambosos, while Kambosos will use his speed and good movement to counter punch. Balla is a good boxer, so it should be close but I see Kambosos winning on points.
Lincoln Hudson, Trainer – Record: 17-7
Kambosos W10 Balla: This is a very interesting fight that creates a lot of hype in the Australian boxing scene. But sadly, we have seen a lot of fights that don’t live up to the hype – and sadly I feel this fight will be one of them – as styles make fights.
I do feel that Balla is underestimated but Kambosos is a class act and will expose the grade difference between the two. With total respect to all, I think every round will be the same like a merry-go-round with George toying with his opponent.
George Reno, Trainer – Record: 16-5
Kambosos TKO8 Balla: Balla is a neat boxer, but I don’t think he has the power to get past Kambosos who gone to another level after training and sparing in the US. Kambosos also has a good team behind him, I think George by stoppage in the late rounds.
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