HEAVY is the head that wears the crown.
An imaginary line is forming in the lightweight division, with a handful of prospective opponents volunteering their services to the camp of George Kambosos (12-0, 6 KOs).
But with confirmation of Kambosos’ next appearance arriving earlier this week – an October 13th date with crafty Thai Krai Setthaphon in Melbourne – attention now turns as to who will face Australia’s consensus number one lightweight next. Enter, Kye MacKenzie.
The enigmatic and hard-hitting Sydney resident, who returned to the ring as as fully fledged lightweight earlier this month with a comprehensive six round beatdown of durable Filipino veteran Jonel Alibio in Punchbowl, has secured mandatory status to face Kambosos next, after picking up a secondary regional bauble under the WBA Oceania banner.
MacKenzie (now 17-1, 15 KOs) impressed in his most recent outing, proving that despite his relative inactivity, he had not lost a step or any of his trademark hand speed. Although Alibio was able to get off shots of his own, particular his left hook on the inside, he was unable to establish any offensive rhythm due to the sporadic nature of MacKenzie’s jab. The Filipino visitor (now 21-19-5, 12 KOs) was able to catch the 25-year-old MacKenzie on multiple occasions, but the Indigenous prospect highlighted just how underrated his ability to take a punch can be.
The performance was arguably the most polished put together by the former two division national titleholder, who was content with his debut showing under new trainer Mark Grech, best known for his work with the highly touted Valentine Borg.
“We had a good game plan going into the fight and it worked a treat,” said MacKenzie to Aus-Boxing. “I expected Jonel to be better then what he came with, that’s why I handled him so well. It was my first appearance under my new trainer Mark Grech. He made the preparation for the fight a whole lot easier mentally and working with me for a lot of one-on-one stuff and also organising nutritious meals.”
As MacKenzie notes, his recently acquired regional strap places him in pole position to eventually challenge the aforementioned Kambosos, who is fast becoming a hot commodity in a stacked division. And while MacKenzie admits that they’re both chasing similar goals, he still has plans to derail Kambosos’ world title ambitions in what he sees as a favourable stylistic match-up.
“I’m now the mandatory to fight George Kambosos, which would be great for the fans,” he concluded. “We’re both striving for the same thing – and that is success – and just like any real fighter, I’d be more than happy to fight the guy.”
“Styles make fights and I think I can upset him.”
Photo: Louie Abigail