AN unlikely meeting between determination and chance has led Kris George to another marquee opportunity.
The criminally underappreciated Queenslander will make the second defence of his Commonwealth welterweight crown against arguably the most regarded talent in world boxing in the early hours of Sunday morning from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
In front of eight thousand raucous Geordies, George (14-1, 8 KOs) attempts to strike gold in his effort to derail the world level ambitions of the immensely talented Josh Kelly (6-0, 4 KOs).
With the world watching, including leading global entity Matchroom Boxing and its figurehead Eddie Hearn, the 28-year-old admits that the platform on offer is unlike any previously given.
“It’s a real privilege to be on a big show like this,” said George at the final press conference.
Although the stage and its expected reach is unlike anything he’s experienced in an accomplished six-year professional career, the role of the underdog continues to be a familiar narrative.
“To be headlining, it’s unreal. But I’ve been in this situation before numerous times,” he explained.
“Not having the amateur pedigree and not having a big support behind us. We’re always known as the underdog, but the pressure is all on them. It’s really good being here, not having to sell tickets and get sponsors,”
“I’m just rolling through and enjoying the experience.”
In Kelly, 26, George is challenging a legitimate blue-chip prospect who has been groomed for stardom, well before he penned his lucrative promotional agreement with his English promoter early last year.
— Aus-Boxing.com (@ausboxing) June 15, 2018
The former Olympian is yet to find resistance in the professional ranks, and has already secured the scalp of a former world champion in his fast ascension within the ratings of a stacked welterweight division. Despite his impressive albeit fledgling resume, George believes there’s a greater story that is yet to be told.
“The thing with boxing, especially over twelve rounds and with eight ounce gloves, it’s not all about flash and boxing ability,” he continued.
“There comes a deeper thing, that comes into it throughout the fight. Who can dig deep and in those trenches, and that’s where I think I’ll come good.”
“He (Kelly) hasn’t fought someone with a lot of power, it changes the fight. It doesn’t just necessarily mean that I’m going to knock him out, but it changes the way they act, react and fight. It puts them off their game, we’ll see how he handles it and we’ll let it play out.”
The potential of a possible test for his highly prized acquisition excites event promoter Eddie Hearn, who underlined the importance of an upset win for the Australian, including several lucrative opportunities abroad.
“Kris George and the Aussies, they’re always up for it,” added Hearn.
“They don’t see Josh Kelly as a threat, they don’t look to duck fights. We got in touch with their team, they asked for money, too much, but we paid it.”
“But they’re not here for the money, they’re here because they believe it’s too early for Josh Kelly,”
“They’re here because they know Britain is the epicentre of world boxing. If they come here and beat Josh Kelly, they change their career. They’ll have a future not only in Australia, but in Britain, and in America as well and will be able to move forward to those big fights at 147 pounds.”
Photo: Warren Suen