George Kambosos Jr. insisted his plan all along was to get it right the second time around.
The undisputed lightweight championship due to take place this weekend can officially move forward, as Sydney’s Kambosos came in well under the divisional limit on his second attempt to proceed with his four-belt showdown with Las Vegas’ Devin Haney. Kambosos strutted back into the main room of the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne—minutes from Marvel Stadium where fight night takes place (Saturday, ESPN, 9:00 p.m. ET)—sporting a black sweatsuit and a confident grin.
The swagger was justified, as Kambosos (20-0, 10KOs) clocked in at 134.49 pounds—well under the lightweight limit and within the prescribed two-hour period to make weight. The unbeaten Aussie weighed 135.36 pounds on the first try, though chalked it up to psychological warfare.
“The art of war, baby. Deception,” Kambosos insisted after moving forward with the first defense of his lightweight championship. “Let them believe this was done. Everything is a process. Art of war, deception. I did it on purpose.”
Haney (27-0, 15KOs) made weight on the first try, checking in at a shredded 134.92 pounds for the fifth defense of his WBC title. Kambosos defends his lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO championship for the first time, which will also crown the division’s first undisputed champion in the four-belt era.
Kambosos was roundly criticized for missing the mark during the official weigh-in, where all of the remaining 23 participants on this weekend’s show got it right. The defending champ had a simple explanation for how he was able to shed nearly a full pound in just more than an hour.
“I took a piss, simple and easy,” quipped Kambosos. “I was about to chill out have a great coffee. I said, let’s go make weight. Now I’ll have a great coffee. It changes nothing. It changes his mindset now, trust me. Art of war, deception. I’m ready. I’m more than ready.”
Kambosos won the lineal championship and unified titles in an upset twelve-round, split decision win over then-unbeaten Teofimo Lopez Jr. (16-1, 12KOs) last November 27 in New York City. The insistence from the moment he won the crown was that his first title defense would take place in Australia, where he hasn’t fought since October 2017.
The original choice of opponent was Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko (16-2, 11KOs), the former three-division champ who agreed to terms for what would have been a shot at his old titles this weekend. The southpaw was forced to bow out due to Martial Law requiring him to serve in the Ukraine military during the nation’s ongoing defense against the Russian invasion.
Haney stepped in, though only after having to commit to a multi-fight promotional deal with DiBella Entertainment—Kambosos’ promoter—and Top Rank, who allowed for the fight air live on ESPN with whom the company enjoys an exclusive TV deal.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox