Ukraine’s Lomachenko knocks out Kambosos to win IBF lightweight crown

Two-time Olympic gold medallist ‘Loma’ stopped home favourite George Kambosos in the 11th round of the fight in Perth.

Vasiliy Lomachenko delivered a technical knockout in the 11th round against local favourite George Kambosos Jr at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia [Richard Wainwright/AAP Image via Reuters]

Ukrainian boxing great Vasiliy Lomachenko has clinched the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight world title, producing a supreme performance to stop Australia’s George Kambosos in the 11th round in Perth.

In the main event at a sold-out 15,000 RAC Arena on Sunday, heavy favourite Lomachenko defied the rowdy home crowd and dominated throughout.

“Loma”, as the two-time Olympic gold medallist is known, thoroughly dominated the showdown while Kambosos struggled to land his blows and hit the deck in the 11th round.

Lomachenko left the Australian bloodied and sealed the 135-pound belt after dropping Kambosos several times in the 11th round before the referee stopped the fight.

“My plan was to adjust to my opponent,” Lomachenko, who is in the twilight of his career, said after the fight.

“This is what I did in the fight. Toward the end of the rounds, I needed to finish strong. In the last three rounds, I was trying to find his body.”

It was the first IBF lightweight belt in the glittering career of the former World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Council (WBC) lightweight champion, who has also won world titles in featherweight and super featherweight.

“I’m again world champion. I want to come back home and spend time with my family,” said the 36-year-old, who remained coy about his future.

Boxing - IBF Lightweight title - Vasiliy Lomachenko v George Kambosos Jr - RAC Arena, Perth, Australia - May 12, 2024 Vasiliy Lomachenko celebrates after winning the fight Richard Wainwright/AAP Image via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. AUSTRALIA OUT. NEW ZEALAND OUT
Vasiliy Lomachenko celebrates after winning the fight [Richard Wainwright/AAP Image via Reuters]

‘One of the best of all time’

Kambosos, a former champion, could not reproduce the form from his famous upset of Teofimo Lopez in 2021 at Madison Square Garden. His prefight taunts of sending Lomachenko into retirement fell flat.

“He’s one of the best of all time. We tried our best, but he’s a true champion,” said Kambosos, who was defeated for the third time in 24 fights.

“I gave it my all. I gave it everything in my training camp.”

Both fighters had a point to prove after losing to American Devin Haney in recent years.

Kambosos, who made his ring walk to the Eminem song Till I Collapse, needed to rely on his formidable striking and size advantage.

He came out aggressively and attacked the body of Lomachenko, who is sometimes an unusually slow starter.

Lomachenko got back into the contest through trademark lightning foot speed and counterpunching.

The brash Kambosos was unruffled and taunted Lomachenko after trading a flurry of heavy blows to end the third round.

Undercard controversy

The partisan crowd was right behind the Australian, but southpaw Lomachenko stepped up the intensity in the middle rounds and landed several stinging left-handed jabs that rattled his opponent.

Lomachenko strengthened his grip on the fight in the latter rounds, with several hard left-handed blows leaving Kambosos with blood flowing from his right eye.

Lomachenko thought he had knocked Kambosos down in the 11th, though it was ruled a slip, but then a vicious body shot dropped the Australian for an eight count.

Several more ferocious blows prompted the referee to stop the fight after Kambosos sank to his knee in his own corner, moments before the towel came in from Kambosos’s trainer.

The showdown had been a long time coming, with plans falling through in 2019 before a fight three years later was scuppered when Lomachenko returned home to his family because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In the two world title fights on the undercard, Mexican Pedro Guevara beat Australia’s Andrew Moloney with a contentious split decision to claim the interim WBC super flyweight belt.

An aggrieved Moloney, a former champion who battled through a torn bicep, announced his retirement immediately after the fight.

“I’m done with this sport. That’s the last you’ll see of me,” the 33-year-old said.

Australian Cherneka Johnson stripped England’s Nina Hughes of her women’s WBA bantamweight belt after winning the 10-round battle in a majority decision.

There was confusion after the ring announcer initially awarded the victory to Hughes after misreading the scores.

Source: News Agencies