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George Kambosos vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko: Russian intelligence priming Aussie for upset

George Kambosos (21-2) believes he has an ace up his sleeve when it comes to taking on modern great and three-time world champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (17-3).

The pair, who have both been unified world champions at lightweight, will face off at Perth’s RAC Arena on May 12 for the vacant IBF title at 135-pounds.

It’s a bout which has been on the Australian’s radar for several years and was all but finalised for Kambosos’ first world title defence in 2022 before Lomachenko opted to help defend his native Ukraine following Russia’s invasion.

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While the matchup was officially announced at a press conference on Wednesday, Kambosos has been confident he’d be fighting Lomachenko next for several months.

The Sydneysider said a fortunate meeting with Russian national boxing team coach, Anton Kadushin, came at the perfect time.

“We met by chance. I went to a gym shop to buy some equipment and before you know it, I heard this guy with an accent calling my name. I turned around and it was Anton,” Kambosos told Sporting News

“We exchanged numbers, had a little chat and all of a sudden he’s at my gym.

“We started working a little bit and just gelled. Just really saw his style, my style, and knew that with an upcoming Lomachenko fight… we could see that this was meant to be, this was destiny and it will show on May 12.

“He has worked with a lot of good fighters in the past, obviously with the amateur system in Russia and to become one of the head national Russian coaches for the Olympic team there, they don’t play games over there, they pick the best.”

While praising Kadushin, Kambosos also paid tribute to former trainer Chris Bakis, who passed away last year.

“He’s in a good place now and we always have his memory with us,” he said.

“We take him with us into battle.”

Raised in southern Sydney, Kambosos was coached by Igor Goloubev, the uncle and trainer of Tim and Nikita Tszyu, for much of his amateur and early professional career.

The 30-year-old has welcomed the return to a similar style of boxing.

“When you’ve got a Russian coach, who brings the old-school Russian style and Soviet Union style, something that’s Lomachenko’s bread and butter, something that I used to use as amateur where I used to work with the Russian style, it’s refreshing and it’s great to be back with that system again,” Kambosos said. 

“And what better way to be fighting a guy like Vasiliy Lomachenko and have that, working with it every single day.”

Lomachenko’s amateur record is among the finest of all time and he counts two Olympic gold medals among his achievements.

Devin Haney - Vasiliy Lomachenko

(Mikey Williams/Top Rank/GETTY)

As a professional, he won the featherweight title in his third fight, before adding world championships at 130 and 135-lbs.

Kambosos predicts Kadushin’s intel on his opponent will be a significant factor come fight day, although he understandably remained tight-lipped on what specifically they’d been working on.

“He [Kadushin] knows Lomachenko’s style inside-out,” he added.

“We have been working on it for many months, and now that it’s getting to that crunch time and we’re getting closer and closer, everything is just gelling perfect. 

“The combinations, the movement, the footwork. And we’re bringing great sparring partners out. We are bringing sparring partners from Russia, where they’re going to emulate a guy like Lomachenko. 

“This is no joke. We are taking this fight very, very seriously and we know what is at stake. 

“Careers are on the line, Hall of Fame is on the line, legacy is on the line. And that number one, supreme lightweight in the world is on the line in this fight.”

Kambosos shot to worldwide fame when he upset Teofimo Lopez in New York to become the main man in the lightweight division.

After the planned Lomachenko bout fell through, Kambosos twice faced Devin Haney in Melbourne, going down on both occasions in June and October 2022.

He got back in the winners’ circle when facing Maxi Hughes last July but even Kambosos conceded it wasn’t a convincing performance.

Lomachenko, who turns 36 next month, last fought against Haney as well, dropping a narrow decision back in May.

Kambosos believes their respective styles should ensure an exciting fight but one “Ferocious” is extremely confident of taking out.

“I will be at 110 per cent and if [Lomachenko] brings his best and a style that he always fights and I bring my best and what I’m bringing to the table now, I can’t see how he can beat me,” Kambosos said.

“And people will say, ‘Kambosos is crazy. He’s talking a little bit and just dreaming about it.’

“But I’ve shocked the world and I will shock the world again. I’ve chased these fights. I want these fights. 

“This is not about anything else. This is legacy, winning this fight.”

“I haven’t been at my best for these last few fights, so I know that I’m going to showcase and bring my best in this fight.”

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