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George Kambosos Dropped the Ball, but Boxing in Australia is on the Rise

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  • George Kambosos Dropped the Ball, but Boxing in Australia is on the Rise

    Click image for larger version  Name:	twins.PNG Views:	0 Size:	675.8 KB ID:	21550

    By Arne K. Lang

    In November of last year, George Kambosos Jr overcame a 10th-round knockdown to upend unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez in one of the biggest upsets of 2021. With his gritty and ultimately triumphant effort, Kambosos became an overnight sensation in the Land Down Under, but the Sydneysider of Greek heritage proved to be a one-trick pony. In his first title defense on June 5 at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, Kambosos was outclassed by Devin Haney.

    Australian boxing fans, however, still have plenty to cheer about. In fact, the sport in Australia is healthier now than it has been in quite some time.

    Kambosos briefly stole the spotlight from TIM TSZYU (21-0, 15 KOs) whose next fight will come against undisputed 154-pound world champion Jermell Charlo. The camps of both fighters have agreed to terms. Yet to be decided is the date and venue.

    Tszyu is the son of the great Kostya Tszyu, a first ballot Hall of Famer. Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) is the twin brother of undefeated middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.

    By and large, the greatest champions in boxing history have been lethal in rematches. Jermell Charlo erased the two blemishes on his record – a loss to Tony Harrison and a draw with Brian Castano – in grand style. He TKOed both when he caught up with them again.

    If Tszyu-Charlo lands in the U.S. as expected, it will be the Aussie’s second engagement on U.S. soil. In March, at Minneapolis, he won a 12-round unanimous decision over former U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha. Tszyu showed great fortitude in bouncing back from a first-round knockdown to take control of the fight, but he did expose some vulnerabilities. In early man-to-man betting, Charlo is a 5/2 favorite.

    Jay Opetaia

    Jay Opetaia challenges long-reigning cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis at the Gold Coast Convention Center in Broadbeach, Queensland on July 2. It’s a big jump in class for the Sydney southpaw. Briedis has lost only once in 29 fights and in that defeat back in January of 2018 he battled Olekandr Usyk on nearly even terms, losing a majority decision.

    Opetaia, who is of Samoan and European Australian descent, is undefeated (21-0, 17 KOs). He has yet to defeat an opponent with a recognizable name outside the Antipodes, but neither has he been coddled. His last 10 opponents had winning records. At age 26, he is 11 years younger than Briedis and will have the crowd in his corner.

    The Moloney Twins

    The best twins in boxing aside from the Charlo brothers, Australia’s Moloneys (pictured) assuaged the hurt of George Kambosos’s poor showing with impressive victories in supporting bouts. Jason blasted out his opponent in the third round. Andrew’s opponent decided he had had enough and called it quits after only two frames.

    The twins have identical 24-2 records although Andrew has had one more fight, a controversial no-decision in a match that he was winning with three-time foe Joshua Franco. Both are undefeated in non-title fights and, at age 31, it seems as if they haven’t quite yet reached their peak.

    Liam Paro and Brock Jarvis

    Liam Paro (22-0, 17 KOs) and Brock Jarvis (20-0, 18 KOs) were seated on the dais today at a formal press conference in Brisbane. Seated between the two junior welterweights was promoter Eddie Hearn who was there to announce that Paro, 26, and Jarvis, 24, would headline Matchroom’s first-ever show in Australia. The details are still being hammered out but the event will happen sometime in September.

    Paro went on the road in his last bout and got off the deck to win a split decision over Puerto Rico’s Yomar Alamo in a battle of unbeatens at Tampa, Florida. A southpaw of Italian descent, he is currently ranked #1 at 140 pounds by the WBO and #3 by the IBF.

    Brock Jarvis also had his most recent fight in the U.S. He overcame a very rough patch to score a fifth-round TKO over Mexico’s Alejandro Frias Rodriguez on a show in Fresno, California. It was his first fight at 135 after starting his career as a bantamweight and he will move up another notch for Paro.

    Jarvis is a protégé of Jeff Fenech who is widely considered Australia’s greatest native-born boxer. In fact, Jarvis’s grandmother was Fenech’s dietician and nutritionist during Jeff’s fighting days.


    Demsey McKean

    A six-foot-six southpaw with an MMA background, McKean is penciled in for the undercard on Hearn’s September show. It will be his third fight under the Matchroom umbrella.

    McKean is undefeated (21-0, 13 KOs) but the jury is still out on him. His best win was a 10th-round stoppage of gatekeeper-turned-fringe-contender Jonnie Rice who gassed out and was stopped with seconds to go in the match.

    McKean spent most of last year in England where he got excellent sparring as a member of Anthony Joshua’s camp.

    Justis Huni

    Folks were very high on Justis Huni’s chances in the Tokyo Olympics and were greatly disappointed when Huni was forced to pull out with a hand injury. A bout with Covid subsequently stalled his pro career.

    Huni returned to the ring earlier this week after a 12-month absence and defeated countryman Joseph Goodall. While Huni was expected to win, he wasn’t expected to win as easily. Carrying 242 ½ pounds on his six-foot-four frame, he won all 10 rounds in the eyes of one of the judges. The aforementioned Jeff Fenech, working as a TV commentator, described his performance as a masterclass.

    The 23-year-old Huni, who is from Brisbane and regularly spars with reinvigorated Lucas Browne, is of Tongan and Samoan-Dutch descent. Undefeated as a pro (6-0, 4 KOs) he is seemingly on a collision course with Demsey McKean and if both are still unbeaten when they finally collide, it will be a huge event in Australia.

    New Kids on the Block

    Tim Tszyu had a very limited amateur background. Not so his younger brother NIKITA TSZYU, 24, who was a four-time Australian amateur champion.

    Nikita turned his back on boxing to pursue a college degree in architecture and was away from the sport for five years. He made his pro debut in March and is currently 2-0 with both wins coming inside the distance.

    Nikita is a junior middleweight like his brother but, unlike his brother, he is a southpaw. He reportedly packs a harder punch than Tim. Yet to be determined is whether he has the same dedication.

    At the Tokyo Olympics, HARRY GARSIDE became Australia’s first medalist in boxing in 33 years. Garside won bronze in the 139-pound class after losing to Cuba’s brilliant Andy Cruz in the semis. Cruz is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the amateur ranks.

    Garside is 3-0 (2) at the pro level. His second pro fight, a 10-rounder, was billed for the Australian lightweight title. Outside the ring, Garside, a plumber by trade, is an interesting cat. An ally of the LGBTQ community, Garside allows that if he hadn’t become infatuated with boxing, he may have pursued a career in ballet. His long-range goal is to participate in the 2032 Summer Olympics which will be held in Brisbane.
    Last edited by AcidArne; 07-02-2022, 08:05 AM.
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