IT was meant to be the Joseph Parker show on Saturday night at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau City, New Zealand, but it was Australian lightweight supremo George Kambosos Jr. who stole the show.
With Justin Fortune in his corner, Kambosos faced off against fellow Aussie Qamil Balla and his performance was sensational in the main support to the WBO heavyweight title fight. It’s clear that this young prospect from Sydney has a very bright future.
The build up for the fight was an exciting one, it was billed as a genuine 50/50 fight and Kambosos wasn’t short of confidence going into it, claiming he would give Balla a ‘boxing lesson’ and ‘take his heart’. He more than backed it up.
The first round saw Balla (now 11-1-1, 5 KOs) rush to centre ring where he jumped straight on Kambosos (now 12-0, 6 KOs), landing some quality straight left hands from an unexpected southpaw stance. It took Kambosos most of the round to finally land a few decent shots of his own in the form of accurate uppercuts but the first belonged to Balla.
From the second round onwards, Kambosos, 23, showed the world just why many consider him to be Australia’s next big thing. He displayed the kind of ring generalship that is often a trademark of much more experienced fighters. Showing off a nice variety of punches, he slowly picked apart Balla. He jabbed when he needed space, threw his straight right hand with the accuracy of a sniper when the time was right and he jolted the head of Balla with crisp uppercuts.
The pace of the fight was brisk. Balla, 27, switching between southpaw and orthodox attempted to disrupt the rhythm of Kambosos often with a variety of feints and footwork but as the fight wore on it was clear Kambosos was racking up the points.
There looked to be a shift in momentum in the sixth round, when a cut from an accidental head clash opened up over the right eye of Kambosos. Blood flowed heavily from it and to start the seventh round Balla took it to Kambosos but like all quality fighters, he showed composure under fire and shot back with some vicious combination punches that had the crowd on their feet.
The cut was seemingly a catalyst for Kambosos to really display his offensive firepower. In the final four rounds he showed off an arsenal of blows that clearly impressed those on hand to witness the bout. He hooked hard to the body, landed clean accurate blows to the head of Balla with both hands and set about dominating the rest of the fight culminating in a tenth round knockdown.
The decision was unanimous with scores of 99-90, 98-91 and 98-93.
With the victory came the conclusion that George Kambosos Jr. has outgrown the domestic fight scene in Australia. He demonstrated a skill set and composure that sees him ready to take on higher quality opposition overseas.
Extolling the virtues that have taken him this far, Kambosos was quick to point out in his post-fight interview that his hard work is what will take him to that next level needed to further his career.
“I’m the most disciplined fighter, I believe, in the world,” Kambosos said. “I’m the hungriest fighter in the world. I stay focused no matter what I do. Tomorrow I’m going to go run.”
You can’t help but believe him. It’s this kind of mentality that’s put Kambosos in a position to become one of Australia’s best and one that the fans will continue to watch with enthusiasm.
Words: Dan Attias/Follow Dan on Twitter
Photo: Hannah Peters/Getty Images