BOTH George Kambosos and Brandon Ogilvie talked a very big game going into their high-stakes collision on Friday night. And remarkably, the duo delivered, putting together a thrilling twelve round battle which was ultimately won by the fast-thinking and more dexterous Kambosos – who wrestled Ogilvie of his WBA Oceania lightweight bauble – while earning the coveted mantle of being Australia’s consensus number one lightweight. The fight, which pitted two promising prospects against each other with plenty to lose, proved to be the gripping affair that most expected, which is rare given the high expectations that the regional title fight had already been afforded. Given that both Kambosos (now 11-0, 6 KOs) and Ogilvie (now 17-2-1, 9 KOs) went into the fight at The Big Top within Sydney’s Luna Park precinct with legitimate aspirations to fight abroad, something had to give. For all the talk of Ogilvie’s impressive run of form away from home and Kambosos’ lack of a credible name on his resume, it was the Sydney-based challenger who stepped up, shining when it mattered most.
Kambosos, 23, showed maturity beyond his years, controlling the action with his clear advantage in hand speed, ring generalship and his immaculate ability to time Ogilvie onto both his right-hand counter and lead uppercut. To his credit, Ogilvie, 22, did not relent for twelve consecutive rounds and charged forward with vicious intent, despite having limited success. Although Kambosos appeared to be leading from the opening round onwards, there was a sense of urgency from Ogilvie from the midway point and beyond, and he looked threatening throughout, particularly with his looping right-hand. However, Kambosos began to pull away after an impressive ninth round, where he stunned his Perth-based rival, who did well to survive the round. An accidental clash of heads, which resulted in a gash above Kambosos’ right eye, looked to have halted the unbeaten prospects momentum. Perhaps sensing his lead, Kambosos retreated to a more traditional defensive stance and cruised to victory, with judges Les Fear, Justin Kennedy and George Plellis favouring the local by dominant margins of 116-112, 119-110 and 118-110. For all his trash-talk and bravado, Kambosos paid credit to his defeated opponent post-fight, after lapping in the deserved applause from an adoring home crowd.
“He’s a warrior, he gave me a hell of a fight,” said Kambosos in his post-fight interview. To have two young guys like ourselves – the two best in Australia – to come up and fight each other, is something special. He didn’t have to fight me and I didn’t have to fight him. It was a great fight and a lot of fun, the fans loved it. I told you from the start, all the haters that sat there and talked all this sh*t. I’m sitting here now, I have all the belts and I’m the number one lightweight in Australia. It wouldn’t have been a post-fight interview without a parting shot of sorts from the winner, who took the opportunity to call for a fight with former IBF featherweight titleholder Billy Dib. Anybody can get it, in the world. Not Australia anymore, I’m done with Australia. Billy Dib? You want to go? We can sort it out.
George Kambosos is a controversial and polarising figure in Australian boxing that offers many things, with talk typically at the forefront of his repertoire. But on this particular night, he delivered a signature performance of the highest order. And for that, he can only be congratulated.