George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jnr’s knockout victory over Venezuelan Richard Pena at the Galatsi Olympic stadium in Athens over the weekend, has the Greek Australian boxer one step closer to a world title bout.
The 25-year-old was impressive against the Venezuelan as he knocked down Pena in the fourth and fifth rounds before a Kambosos bombardment of punches saw the referee stop the action in round six.
Ranked #5 by the IBF and #9 by the WBO heading into the fight, Kambosos Jnr victory in Greece improved his undefeated record to 17 wins with ten by knockout.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Kambosos admitted that fighting in front of a parochial Greek crowd was a special moment in his career.
“It’s always something I wanted to do,” he said. “I’m a very proud Greek Australian and what better opportunity to appeal to the Greeks and to show that I am one of them and that one of the best fighters on the planet has Greek blood. My four Greek grandparents are still alive and still healthy and they wish they could have been here to see me amongst my big Greek fan base. But I know that I did them proud.”
The second generation Greek Australian said he enjoyed his time in the homeland of his grandparents, with the chance to speak in the mother tongue especially thrilling.
“They freaked out that I could speak Greek very well, they didn’t realise that I could speak the language,” he said.
“They told me that I wasn’t just a Greek with a last name, they said ‘you’re one of us.’ It made them even prouder especially while I was doing TV interviews in the build-up to the fight. They actually fell in love with me more in terms of what I could bring, not only inside but also outside the ring as well.”
Following this victory, Kambosos Jnr now has his sights set on a future date with World Champion Ghanaian Richard Commey which may occur if he wins an upcoming IBF World Title eliminator.
“I am now ready for the next big fight in America against Jose Pedraza,” he said. “If I could get in the ring and fight him I would become a huge name in the US. The champion can’t run from me, I won’t be denied. I’m one of the highest rated guys in the IBF division. If I win my first world title and if it comes through the IBF or the WBO where we are rated pretty highly I will take that opportunity with both hands and from there look at unifying the titles across the division, that is my ultimate goal.”
Kambosos Jnr, hopes his ever growing Greek fan base can catapult him into a global boxing force.
“We come from a fighting nation. We invented boxing. It’s in our blood,” he said. “We deserve to have a world champion. I’m the guy that is going to win that world title and bring the honour and pride back to this great country. Obviously Australia as well, I’m a very proud Greek Australian I represent both fighting nations.”
He revealed how leaving his pregnant wife and young daughter to fight in Greece was one of the hardest things he has had to do as a boxer.
“That brings me a lot of motivation and a lot of inspiration,” he said. “You see a lot of fighters, they get criticised, but they go through a lot of hard work, sacrifice and dedication. I left home for seven weeks to train in Miami in preparation for this fight. I left my eight-month pregnant fiancé back home and a two-year-old girl asking, ‘where is dad?’ I’m trying to leave a legacy for the name Kambosos. I’m working hard for my kids and for my family and all the Greek people to bring them honour and pride.”
If Kambosos wins his next two fights a childhood fantasy will be realised. Even though it’s not far away, he knows there is a lot of work ahead but is confident that all aspects of his personality and background can help him reach his goal.
“I had that dream 15 years ago when I first stated that I’m going to be a world champion,” he said.
“The way I fight, my fighting style, the ferocious style, the culture that I am from with the Greeks and the Australians. The tattoos, the way I talk, the confidence that I bring it’s a whole wide range of different things that attracts a different range of people to me. Even as a young kid in the gym everyone would stop and get excited to watch me fight and spar. Now we are this close to the ultimate dream of becoming a world champion, who would ever have thought that?”