‘You changed my life’: Devin Haney thanks George Kambosos Jr after world title rematch

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After 12 rounds of intense fighting at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, Devin Haney defeated George Kambosos Jr for the second time to retain his undisputed lightweight title.

Haney won by unanimous decision (119-109, 118-110, 118-110) to keep hold of his IBF, WBC, WBA and WBO belts that he won off Kambosos in June this year.

With some early aggression and change in fighting style catching Haney off guard, the pro-Kambosos crowd was hopeful Sunday’s result would see the belts returned to the Greek Australian fighter.

However, Haney was quick to adjust, with the odds finding themselves firmly in his favour as Kambosos struggled to find any answer to the American’s right hand.

Despite predictions in commentary that a knockout would end the fight, Kambosos ended the 12-round bout on his feet and not without hurting the undisputed world champ.

Speaking after the fight, a bloodied Kambosos was met with a roar of applause, correcting a remark that Haney was “a pretty good fighter” with “he’s a great fighter!”

A bloodied Kambosos lands a right hook on undisputed lightweight world champ, Devin Haney. Photo: The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou.

“He gave me a good boxing lesson the first time… he’s slick man, he’s a good boxer,” Kambosos said of the 23-year-old.

“I landed some great shots in round one, he just knows how to adapt… I respect him a lot.”

Pointing to his second career loss, Kambosos said: “I gave it my all, my blood, my sweat, my tears… I hope Australia, Greece and the world is proud.”

“I want to thank everybody that came out, the support is amazing,” he added.

“Devin, I wish you all the best for the future, [you’re] gonna be there for a long time. I hope you guys remember Ferocious Kambosos. It’s not the end, I’ll be back.”

The 29-year-old hinted that whilst he gives his heart to the sport, it’s time for a “good rest.”

“I need to enjoy some time with my three kids, my wife and enjoy some family time. I’ve had three big fights within a year,” Kambosos said, referring to his earlier fights with Teofimo Lopez and Haney.

Speaking with The Greek Herald, the former world champ said he was humbled by the support from within Rod Laver Arena.

“What a great atmosphere, that was unbelievable,” he said.

Kambosos’ wife Bec cheering him on during his world title rematch. Photo: The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou

“Bringing that action, that blood, the wars, that’s what I love. You could hear the roof bouncing.

“I was landing big shots and the blood was coming and as I was trying to hunt him down, the crowd was behind me. I’m very humbled by the support and appreciative of the fans.”

Just like their first bout in June this year, Sunday’s match was not without an expectant touch of Hellenism.

Prior to the fight, Greek superstar Nikos Vertis performed the Greek national anthem and was followed by Melbourne-based Australian singer of Greek and Italian heritage, Maria Maroulis, who performed the Australian anthem.

The Hellenic Fan Club was once more in full force, with their renditions of “Siko seto” being a not-so-subtle reminder of home for Euro 2004-winning legend, George Karagounis, who was in the crowd.

In the post-match press conference, American promoter, Lou Dibella said: “George is the pride of Sydney, Australia and Greece.”

Addressing the former world champ directly, he said: “I think you should be very proud of what you did there today, you gave it everything you have.”

For his part, George’s father and manager, Jim Kambosos congratulated his son, adding: “I’m so proud of him.”

“He’s given Australia two big events in a very short period of time. Credit to you mate.”

L to R: Promoter, Lou Dibella; George Kambosos Jr; Jim Kambosos; lead trainer, Chris Bakis. Photo: The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou.

“What he [George] did tonight was a tremendous exhibition of heart, will and he never quit. People love that,” Dibella added.

“There was no chance George wasn’t going to put on a brave performance tonight… he fought like a warrior.”

It was a sentiment shared by George’s on-ring rival, who in a post-match meeting said: “you’re tough man, warrior, warrior.”

“Thank you for the opportunity … you changed my life,” the American added before George embraced him.

*All photos by The Greek Herald / Chris Spyrou.

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