George ‘Heroes’ Cambosos has risen from humble beginnings to the crown of being the undisputed lightweight champion of the world, with boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao also playing a big role.
Over the years, the 28-year-old heavily tattooed Australian has struggled for recognition.
But everything could change in Melbourne on Sunday if he wins his showdown against American Devin Haney, with the WBA, IBF, WBO and WBC belts.
After a great amateur career spanning more than 100 fights, Combos has successfully risen to professional positions as a teenager and now boasts a 20-0 record with 10 knockouts.
But this weekend took a lucky break in 2017 to help him set his blockbuster moment on the road.
Rarely known, he was at Freddie Roach’s famous gym in Los Angeles when the legendary coach thought he would be a good play partner for Pacquiao before his WBO Welterweight fight against Jeff Horn in Brisbane.
Pacquiao surprisingly lost to Horn, but the Filipino and Cambosos formed a friendship and the Australians helped prepare him for two more title fights, with the 12-time world champion at 250 rounds.
Cambosos says the experience helped him create who he is today.
“Then he told me I would be the world champion and I heard it from the best of all time, from a guy like Manny Pacquiao, it gave me that extra encouragement,” Cambosos told reporters.
Pacquiao, who retired from boxing last year and failed to run for president of the Philippines last month, said he knew from their first meeting that Cambosos could go all the way.
“She wanted to be the best she could be and she treated me as part of her education,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I have never seen the same fighter twice. He was more than a sparring partner, he was a training partner.
“George worked harder than anyone in the camp, I think that’s why we did so well.”
Oppressed for his weight
Born to parents of Greek descent in South Sydney, Combosos was often bullied for being overweight as a child, which led his father to enroll him in boxing classes to improve his fitness.
He lost weight and fell in love with sports.
After rising through the ranks as an amateur, he immersed himself in becoming a professional and won his first fight in front of his home fans in Sydney in 2013.
To further his career, he and his team decided to establish themselves in the United States, a move that led to a relationship with Pacquiao.
Defeating Lee Selby in London in 2020 made him a compelling challenger to the IBF Lightweight title, which finally earned a crack at WBA, IBF and WBO Champion Teofimo Lopez in Madison Square Garden in November.
Cambosos seized his chances in a bloody battle, wrapping himself up in a big way by upsetting the Americans in a stunning split decision as a heavy underdog to win three belts.
“I have to earn everything in my career. I had to work hard to get to this position, very hard, “said Cambosos, who is the WBC lightweight champion and unbeaten in 27 fights, ahead of Sunday’s fight against Haney.
“I wasn’t really given anything or opportunities, I always worked hard to earn them. And that’s how I love it. “
The move brings Cambosos to the brink of his greatest achievement, with more than 50,000 people packing at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium to see if he can be one of Australia’s best boxers.
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