Lomachenko gave example of 'No Mas-Cchenko'; What's next for Kambosos?

Vasiliy Lomachenko was crowned champion once again with a dominant performance in Perth, Australia on Sunday, proving he is still one of the top players in the game.

Lomachenko (18-3, 12 KOs) has undoubtedly been one of the best boxers in the world since June 2014, when he became champion in his third pro fight. From that impressive performance against Gary Russell Jr. to his 11th-round TKO victory over George Kambosos Jr. on Sunday to capturing the vacant IBF lightweight title, Lomachenko has remained supernatural.

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 two losses came via decision against Devin Haney. And Kambosos has a victory over ESPN's 2021 Upset of the Year Teofimo Lopez.

Lomachenko became the first fighter to finish the Australian and did so in fashion. He shattered Kambosos with a sharp left, causing his right eye to bleed. Lomachenko eventually landed a left hand to his body, followed by a flurry that forced the corner to throw in the towel.

“He is a legend of the game,” Kambosos said. “…He's one of the best fighters in history.”

Of course, this is not an exaggeration. The two-time Olympic gold medalist is a future Hall of Famer, and coming off the disappointment of his controversial decision loss to Haney a year ago, Lomachenko is once again building momentum.

They may find their next opponent in a week. On Saturday, Emmanuel Navarrete faces Denis Berinchik for the vacant WBO lightweight title in San Diego.

Navarrete is a big favorite to become a four-division champion, and Top Rank wants to match the Mexican with Lomachenko later this year. It's a fascinating clash of styles. Navarrete is a 5-foot-7-inch Tornado with a 72-inch reach.

Lomachenko proved on Sunday that he still has the reflexes to fire through holes when they present themselves. He can still conjure up memories of No Mas-Chanco, the man who left an opponent on a stool during his time as the pound-for-pound king. And with a title hanging around his waist, it looks like he's ready for one final run at the top of the sport.

— Coppinger

Kambosos' career now hangs in the balance; What's next for him?

When Kambosos stepped into the ring to fight pound-for-pound superstar Lomachenko, he was fully aware of the high stakes in the sport.

He knew victory would cement his legacy as an Australian boxing icon, a world champion who had pulled off not one, but two of the era's most stunning upsets against a pair of generational fighters. Kambosos argued that such an accomplishment would be enough to earn him a place in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, an honor given to only five of his countrymen. The victory would also have opened the door to further championship bouts at 135 pounds.

But Kambosos also knew that a loss to Lomachenko would signal the end of his international boxing career. And on Sunday afternoon, after being humiliated for 11 rounds on home soil, Kambosos expressed frustration as he left the ring, aware that his career was now in jeopardy.

As for Kambosos, a loss to Lomachenko on Sunday would send him down the lightweight pecking order and send him dangerously close to irrelevance not only in the division but in the boxing world as well. It is unlikely that Kambosos will fight for another world title, but he has no regrets about fighting.

“I tried my best. I had the best preparation. I gave everything in training camp and unfortunately today it wasn't enough, but it is what it is. I stepped up to the best. I competed against the best. You lose. Let's take it.” Kambosos told ESPN. “He's a true champion. He's a legend of this game and I have the utmost respect for him. I never disrespected him. I always respected him and we knew who we were coming up against.”

Kambosos' victory over Lopez will never be taken away from him, but Sunday's latest defeat – his third in four fights – proved that winter night at Madison Square Garden was an anomaly of the highest order.

The Australian has looked no closer to a world champion-calibre fighter since. Not only has he been outboxed in each of his last four fights, but he has also been unable to problem-solve in the ring and shows no signs of changing momentum when things aren't working in his favor. .

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 one caveat was that he had to show that he remained a world class fighter. His performance against Lomachenko could do 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.


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