George Kambosos is coming home for the first defense of his undisputed lightweight championship.
Kambosos’ next fight is set for June 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, sources told ESPN. The front-runner for the title shot, Vasiliy Lomachenko, has already agreed to a deal, sources said, that includes a rematch clause for a lucrative return bout in Australia if Kambosos loses.
Kambosos, ESPN’s No. 1 lightweight, has not agreed to the deal yet, per sources. Devin Haney is also in contention for the bout, sources said. The fight will take place on Sunday afternoon in Australia to accommodate a prime-time US telecast on Saturday. If Kambosos fights Lomachenko, the bout will be televised by ESPN.
Kambosos’ promoter, Lou DiBella, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Marvel Stadium originally was slated to hold an Australian Football League game that weekend, but with the assistance of the Melbourne government, stadium officials and league officials, the contest was moved to a Friday, per sources. The venue is key. Marvel Stadium not only holds more than 53,000 fans but also features a retractable roof; June is winter time in Australia.
Kambosos, who is 28, scored a split-decision victory over Teofimo Lopez in November, a fight that was named ESPN’s Upset of the Year. After all, Lopez was a 10-1 favorite and regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
Lopez was also coming off a victory over Lomachenko to capture all four lightweight belts. But Kambosos, who is from Sydney, scored a first-round knockdown and survived a 10th-round knockdown to pull off the stunning win.
The victory catapulted Kambosos onto ESPN’s pound-for-pound list and superstardom in Australia. It also placed him in the driver’s seat of boxing’s hottest division.
Kambosos attended Haney’s win over Joseph Diaz Jr. the week after the Lopez fight before taking in Gervonta Davis’ bout with Isaac Cruz. Ryan Garcia was also in talks for the fight, but he’s set to fight Emmanuel Tagoe on April 9 so wouldn’t be ready until later in the year.
Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) has scored two consecutive wins since undergoing surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff, an injury he dealt with during the Lopez fight. First, Lomachenko scored a ninth-round TKO of Masayoshi Nakatani in June. Then in December, the two-time Olympic gold medalist floored Richard Commey en route to a wide-points win.
Lomachenko, who is promoted by Top Rank, is ESPN’s No. 2 lightweight and No. 8 pound for pound boxer. The former three-division champion from Ukraine turns 34 on Thursday.