The Australian former champion is cutting no corners in the lead up to his chance to win back the belts that completely changed his life.
When George Kambosos Jr beat Teofimo Lopez in one of the upsets of the year, he walked out of the Theater at Madison Square Garden as unified lightweight champion of the world. The Aussie fighter snuck up in a stacked division and snatched the belts, declaring himself The Emperor.
What followed was a media tour that even the biggest Hollywood stars would be proud of. Then, it all came crashing down as Devin Haney jabbed his way to a flawless victory in Australia for Kambosos’ first, and only, defence.
Ahead of their rematch this week, the former champ thinks that getting carried away with the attention affected his mindset before the Haney fight. He spoke to Fox Sports.
“For so long I’d craved the media. Then when I became this big success, it was crazy.”
“In the lead up to that last fight, every day the gym was packed. Anywhere up to 40, 50 people. There was media all the time, too. And I just couldn’t focus. I was still training hard. But everything around me took a toll mentally and physically.”
“With everything that was going on, and then trying to be a father for my three kids, it all took a toll. But this fight, I’m reading again. I’m so zoned in. So Haney can say what he likes in the build-up. Social media can say whatever it likes, too. Nothing will break my focus.”
So how has he changed for the rematch? Well if he was out and about too much before, there’s no danger of that now – apparently he’s living in the gym, literally.
“So I’ve now been living at the gym for three weeks. I’ve got a bed, a fridge, a TV … and no distractions. I’m back to where everything started. Told there are nicer places a bloke can go for quiet, Kambosos laughs: “Yeah, I could stay in a fancy hotel”
“But every morning when I look out over there and onto the gym floor, I can see a heavy bag with Devin Haney’s face on it. And I put it on because that’s my mindset. He is the guy I need to beat. For almost all my career, I’ve been the challenger. The underdog. And that’s where I am again now.”
Kambosos will have his chance at redemption against the ever-improving Haney this weekend in Australia.