George Kambosos Jr. accomplished nearly everything he vowed to do in the biggest fight of his career to date.
Having to overcome a knockdown wasn’t necessarily part of the plan in his upset win over lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr (16-1, 12KOs). Both boxers hit the deck in their sensational twelve-round contest Saturday evening at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs) late in the opening round, only to suffer a knockdown of his own midway through round ten.
“I was trying to entertain the fans too much,” Kambosos admitted to DAZN’s Chris Mannix of the right hand that sent him to the canvas. “I’m an unbelievable boxer. They can’t believe how good I box. Too fast, too smart, too strong. But I tried to entertain the crowd a little too much. I got excited a little too much and got caught.
“But what a warrior—I got back up against all odds, finished the fight and won the (last two rounds).”
Sydney’s Kambosos floored Brooklyn’s Lopez with an overhand right in round one, setting the stage for an improbable upset. He was ahead to the point of no return through nine rounds on the cards of judge Glenn Feldman (88-83) and Frank Lombardi (87-83) before getting clipped in round ten. The first-time title challenger rode out the sequence and went on to sweep round eleven on all three scorecards to guarantee at least a split decision victory which turned out to be the case in the end.
“I wasn’t hurt,” insisted Kambosos. “I looked at my team and said, “I’m not hurt, let’s go punish this kid.” And I went out and won the (last) two rounds, no problem. That’s the kind of fighter I am.
“All respect to him. He’s a great champ and he beat the great Lomachenko. But I’m the better fighter and I told you, I’d be the better fighter every step of the way.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox