IT is difficult to see Kris George’s name without seeing the phrase, ‘Fear My Heart’.
While cliches and catch phrases are often associated with fighters, you’ll be hard pressed to find a sentence more fitting to the Toowoomba-based mauler than the one above. With a limited amateur background and without the support of a major promoter, George has continued to break trends.
Once seen as a limited brawler with knockout power, George (12-1, 6 KOs) has continued to impress with each rise in competition, winning state and regional titles as a professional before making the jump in class that few expected, which has led to the Commonwealth welterweight crown.
“I never expected to get that far in the sport, but I think you grow as you go, I now expect to go much further,” said George in an interview with Aus-Boxing. “Over the past couple of years I wouldn’t have expected to fight for and win a Commonwealth title, but things come up.”
“The thing about getting the Commonwealth title is that I now get offers coming in and opportunities I could take. But I’ve been wanting to fight Brubaker, Hammond and Horn. I’ve been calling them out for the last three years and I haven’t had anything to offer them. They weren’t taking the fights because they were scared; they weren’t taking it because it wasn’t smart.”
George was originally scheduled to make the first defence of his title in London against England-based Nigerian Larry Ekundayo, who was one of George’s mandatory challengers. However, fate intervened, and Ekundayo’s promoter Frank Warren canned the fight for no apparent reason and opted for another opponent.
Funnily enough, that replacement was Gary Corcoran, who upset the previously unbeaten Ekundayo and will now face Jeff Horn for his recently acquired WBO welterweight title in December. Despite missing out on the Ekundayo defence, George and his team quickly rallied to make the long-anticipated with with Brubaker.
“I sort of figure this fight isn’t as hard as a fight with Larry Ekundayo, who I was originally going to fight,” admitted George. “When you have the Commonwealth title – you have to take hard fights – and the Brubaker fight is one I have always liked, but just making it happen was the hard part.”
“As soon as the other fight was called off, we put it out there to him and started pushing it.”
For George, the stakes are high enough on Sunday afternoon, where the 28-year-old will finally make the first defence of his Commonwealth welterweight title against unified OPBF ruler Jack Brubaker (13-1-1, 7 KOs) at the Star Casino in Sydney. Although it’s far from official, the winner of the mouth-watering matchup will become the consensus number two welterweight in the country behind Jeff Horn.
And while his opinion is nothing short of speculation at this point, George sees Sunday’s bout as an unofficial eliminator for the WBO welterweight titleholder.
“Jeff Horn has inspired a lot of people, especially Jack and I, who are possibly going to get somewhere.” he continued. “I mean, maybe we get a chance at something bigger down the road. Horn has inspired us and pushed us to take things further and take these risks. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward.”
Despite holding wins over three previously unbeaten opponents in Ozan Craddock, Bowyn Morgan and Cameron Hammond, George is still seen as an underdog in this fight. When probed on his opinion in terms of the betting line, he admits it’s a strange feeling to consistently be overlooked.
“It’s funny, Ozan Craddock was my first real big fight and I was the big underdog there,” he said. “With Bowyn Morgan, I was the money underdog and with Cameron Hammond I was the underdog too. I feel maybe with those wins under my belt, this will might be an even fight. But I’d probably see myself as the favourite in my own eyes.
“I just think with Brubaker’s style, he is willing to wear a few blows and come forward. He has a lot of heart and that has worked for him – but with a big puncher – that suits me. Coming forward and wanting to trade suits me perfect. That’s why for a long time I’ve wanted this fight.”
“After out boxing Cameron Hammond, who was an Olympian, I really think I will outbox him,” he predicted. “I’m definitely stronger than him and I know that for a fact. Jack hasn’t fought anyone that punches like me. You just can’t walk into a big puncher too often, it just doesn’t work.”
“I love people that want to stand there and that’s why I love this fight. It’s just perfect.”
As his record has shown, there is nothing wrong with navigating your career with each passing fight. George sees himself in a relatively good position, which if he’s able to maintain, could lead to something bigger. But as he’s always done, George is keeping a lid on the expectations.
“I think it’s unrealistic at the moment, but I think my biggest chance at a world title shot is with Jeff Horn.” he concluded. “So I’ll keep pushing in that direction, it’s a bit silly now because we’re at different levels. But if I’m ever going to get a shot at a world title, it’s more likely to be against Horn.”
“I mean if I can get myself rated in the top ten and Jeff if looking for a voluntary title defence. That’s the target really as he’s the pinnacle at the moment. I’m definitely fighting on a fight-by-fight basis. Every fight from here on in is make or break.”
“If you asked me what is my ultimate goal, its fighting in an all Aussie world title fight.”
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