Cruiserweight Jai Opetaia is backing his countryman George Kambosos “all the way” in this Saturday’s vacant IBF lightweight title clash with Vasiliy Lomachenko in Perth, Australia. 

Kambosos (21-2, 10 KOs) has the chance to become a two-time world champion this weekend following a dubious majority decision win over England’s Maxi Hughes last July. 

Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs) would have been out of the ring a week shy of one year when he fights down under. Many believe he was unlucky not to get the nod against Devin Haney at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. 

“I hope so,” Opetaia told BoxingScene of Kambosos’s chances. “I believe in him, I’m going to be backing George all the way. He’s a fellow countryman and I’ll always back the Aussie. I used to watch Lomachenko, I used to think he was an absolute freak. But Kambosos has that will-to-win, he wants it bad. It’s hard to beat someone who wants it that bad. I believe he can pull it off, so I’ll be backing Kambosos all the way.” 

Much like his compatriot, Opetaia also has the chance to be named a two-time world champion when he rematches Mairis Briedis a week later on May 18 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

“Australian fighters are skyrocketing,” Opetaia added. “I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m very proud of my country, mixing it with the best, it’s good to see. We didn’t have these platforms to fight on when I was coming through the rankings. The biggest fight nights we had were with footy players fighting other footy players, you know they were our biggest fights. Now we have Tim Tszyu, myself, the Moloney boys and all the girls. 

“Boxing in Australia has gotten so big, and I feel it is just the start. If you look at our Olympic team heading over to Paris, we got some guns in there. It’s a great team! They had a tournament vs America a couple of days ago, but that’s where it all starts and you get the fundamentals. All the names like; Tim Tszyu, Kambosos, the Moloney’s. I knew all those boys from the amateurs. We’ve all been boxing on the same shows since we were little kids. Now we have worked our way up, it’s a proud thing. I know these boys would have had to work hard and earn their spot. We were legit little kids together, first fighting for state titles, then onto national titles. We did that for years and years. Now we are going through our different allies. The Australian fighters are fighting the best.”