BOXING is a sport of fine margins. One minute, you’re fighting Devin Haney for all the marbles at lightweight, three judges’ scorecards away from realising a lifelong undisputed dream, and the next, you’re travelling halfway across the world to challenge for a vacant belt.

That is the situation Vasiliy Lomachenko finds himself in as he steps onto away turf in Australia later tonight. George Kambosos Jr has entertained a similar fanbase many times before. Home advantage? You better believe it.

Kambosos is still siphoning out the last dregs of credibility juice that remain from the night he defeated Teofimo Lopez. Make no mistake, he was outstanding on that occasion. Between his intense preparations and Lopez’s antics, a perfect storm was created for Kambosos to sail right in and grab the win.

He feels a similar energy this time, even promising to retire his veteran foe. That would be some statement.

Even if the Teofimo tussle proves to be a career one-off, it showed us one thing: writing off Kambosos is a dangerous game. This is the ultimate underdog who rises to meet the doubters and outlast them. Imbued with relentless, possibly reckless, self-confidence, even in defeat, Kambosos refuses to believe he can ever be truly beaten.

A big favourite to defeat Maxi Hughes in Oklahoma, the Aussie won by majority decision but looked like he got away with one. While Maxi is a dogged and determined southpaw, awkward and difficult to get the better of, Lomachenko is a left-handed master at work.

If Maxi Hughes could repeatedly step back, turn off, and set traps for Kambosos, then someone of Lomachenko’s vast calibre will be capable of doing the same.

Redemption road: both men have a point to prove in Perth

These are two fighters who have tasted success and are seeking a touch of redemption. You could even go so far as to suggest they’re two men with a chip-on-the-shoulder mentality who rise to the occasion when the doubters gather and whisper.

One boxer is coming off the back of losing a fight that many thought he won, while the other won a fight many thought he lost. 

Lomachenko is a natural 126-pounder who moved up to chase the glory and competitive fights and has been on the wrong end of some close decisions. Given his temperament and experience, the Ukrainian is unlikely to walk forward straight into Kambosos’ shots as an out-of-sorts Teofimo Lopez did.

“I’ve been in this sport for a long time,” said Lomachenko, in a slightly understated manner given his massive amateur background.

“We are two professionals. We know boxing. We know strategy. It will be very, very interesting for both.”

Interesting indeed, especially for the fired-up “Ferocious” Kambosos who leaves nothing to chance in the gym and has a reputation as a fierce workhorse.

“I’m extremely confident. I bring that confidence from my preparation,” said Kambosos. 

“When I beat Lomachenko, there will be no more road for him to go. This is retirement for him.”

If not here, then retirement certainly looms for a 36-year-old who is surely already wrestling with his thoughts and having behind-closed-doors conversations about future plans. 

“The Matrix” version who outmanoeuvred Luke Campbell and ruthlessly dismissed Anthony Crolla is subtly slipping away, but the stubborn competitor who repeatedly punched through Masayoshi Nakatani, like he had a point to prove, remains – in mindset, at least.

The ageing body must concur if those fine margins, set up later tonight in Perth, are to be reduced once more.


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