Lomachenko brings up “No Mas-Chenko”; What’s next for Kambosos?

Vasiliy Lomachenko put on an impressive display on Sunday in Perth, Australia, becoming champion once again, proving he is still one of the sport’s elite.

Lomachenko (18-3, 12 KO) has been undoubtedly one of the best boxers in the world since June 2014, when he became champion in only his third pro fight. From that dominant performance against Gary Russell Jr. to Sunday’s 11th-round TKO win over George Kambosos Jr. to capture the vacant IBF lightweight title, Lomachenko remains otherworldly.

This stoppage win over Kambosos – Lomachenko’s first since June 2021 – was a reminder of the Ukrainian’s greatness at the age of 36. This is Kambosos’ third loss, but his previous defeat came by decision against Devin Haney. Kambosos has a win over Teofimo Lopez, ESPN’s top upset of 2021.

Lomachenko became the first fighter to finish the Aussie and he did it in style. He smashed Kambosos with a series of sharp lefts, bloodying his right eye. Lomachenko finally nailed him with a left hand to the body, followed by a flurry that forced Angle to throw in the towel.

“He is a legend of this sport,” Kambosos said. “…He’s one of the best fighters in history.”

This is not an exaggeration, of course. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is a future Hall of Famer, and after the disappointment of his disputed loss to Haney a year ago, Lomachenko is building momentum once again.

He could find his next opponent within a week. On Saturday, Emanuel Navarrete meets Denis Perincek for the vacant WBO lightweight title in San Diego.

Navarrete is the favorite to become division four champion, and Top Rank is looking to match the Mexican with Lomachenko later this year. It’s a fascinating clash of styles. Navarrete is a whirlwind with a height of 5 feet, 7 feet and a reach of 72 inches.

Lomachenko proved on Sunday that he still has the reflexes to shoot through holes when they appear. He can still conjure up memories of No Mas Chinko, the man who made one competitor after another resign from the chair during his time as the pound-for-pound king. With the title back at his waist, he looks set for one last run at the top of the sport.

— Coppinger


Kambosos’s career now hangs by a thread. What’s next for him?

Kambosos was fully aware of the enormous risks involved when he stepped into the ring to fight superstar Lomachenko.

He knew a win would cement his legacy as an icon of Australian boxing, and a world champion who would pull off not one, but two of the most stunning upsets of the era, against a pair of generational fighters. Kambosos said ad nauseam that such an achievement would be enough to see him secure a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed only on five of his compatriots. A victory would also open the door to more championship fights at 135 pounds.

But Kambosos also knew that a loss to Lomachenko would signal the end of the road for his international boxing career. On Sunday afternoon, after being humiliated at home for 11 rounds, Kambosos appeared dejected as he left the ring, knowing his career was now hanging by a thread.

For Kambosos, Sunday’s loss to Lomachenko would see him drop down the lightweight pecking order, sitting dangerously on the brink of irrelevance, not just in the division but in the world of boxing. Kambosos is unlikely to fight for another world title, but he has no regrets about taking the fight.

“I gave it my best. I had the best preparation. I gave everything in training camp and unfortunately it wasn’t enough today, but that’s the way it is. You made the best. You fought the best. You lose,” Kambosos told ESPN. “He is a true champion. He is a legend in this sport and I have the utmost respect for him. I never disrespected him. I always respected him and we knew what we were up against.”

Kambosos’ win over Lopez will never be taken from him, but his latest loss on Sunday — his third in four fights — proved that winter night at Madison Square Garden was an anomaly of the highest order.

The Australian has not looked close to a world champion caliber fighter since. Not only has he been outplayed in each of his past four fights, he has also been unable to solve problems in the ring and shows no signs of momentum shifting when things aren’t going his way.

Kambosos promoter Lou DiBella spoke earlier in the week about the possibility of his man moving up to junior welterweight for a rematch against Lopez. The only caveat was that he had to show that he was still a world-class fighter. His performance against Lomachenko did nothing of the sort. Kambosos was outmatched from the opening bell until Lomachenko landed a flurry of punches to force his corner to wave the white flag.

–Michaels

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