George Kambosos vs. Vasily Lomachenko: Will IBF 135-lb belt be on the line?

By Boxing News - 09/14/2023 - Comments

By Sean Jones: Former world champions George Kambosos Jr. and Vasily Lomachenko are expected to meet early next year in Australia in a possible stadium fight.

The former IBF/WBA/WBO/Ring Magzine lightweight champion Kambosos Jr. (21-2, 10  KOs) is the highest-ranked contender with the IBF and in a position to pick up the belt if the International Boxing Federation makes that title available for his fight with Lomachenko.

Kambosos, 30, is fortunate to be in the position he’s in after his questionable twelve round majority decision decision over Maxi Hughes last July in Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Many people, this writer included, saw Hughes winning that fight, which wasn’t that close. It was a pure domination by Hughes, who schooled Kambosos from start to finish in a one-sided fight.

Kambosos recently signed with Top Rank and now has the opportunity to get the fight he’s been craving against the former three-division world champion Lomachenko (17-3, 11 KOs).

It makes sense for the IBF to put the lightweight title on the line, given that current champion Devin Haney has left the division to move up to 140.

Ideally, the IBF should give Haney a deadline to decide whether he’ll return to the 135-lb division to continue defending his title.

You can argue that the only reason Haney is holding onto his lightweight belts is for these  reasons:

  • Promotional purposes: To use as a prop to increase interest in Haney’s fight with Regis Prograis in December
  • Gervonta Davis fight
  • If things don’t work out at 140, If Haney gets destroyed by Prograis and can’t compete with the other fighters in the division, he’ll still have his lightweight titles.

Haney said recently that he would only return to the 135-lb division for the right fight, meaning a match against Gervonta Davis. However, it’s unlikely that Haney will come back down any time soon. Tank Davis is expected to face Isaac Cruz next in a rematch at the end of the year.

“He’s taking some time off, and maybe we’ll look to match him with Kambosos in Australia next year,” said Bob Arum to Pro Boxing Fans about his plans for Vasily Lomachenko to battle #2 IBF ranked George Kambosos Jr. next year.

Again, the fair thing for the IBF to do would be to give Haney a deadline of November to decide whether he’ll keep his title at 135.

If Haney chooses not to agree to return to the division, the IBF should strip him and make their title available for the Kambosos vs. Lomachenko to fight over nearly 2024.

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