George Kambosos, Tim Tszyu and an exciting time in Australian boxing

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These are heady times for boxing in Australia.

The country has had it’s share of stars, including Hall of Famers Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu, many world champions over the past century-plus and a number of legendary pioneers. The boxing tradition down under is strong.

However, it would be difficult top the current environment.

Start with George Kambosos Jr. , who upset the feared Teofimo Lopez in November to claim the rare title of undisputed lightweight champion. The Sydney resident makes his first defense against Devin Haney on Saturday (Sunday in Australia) at the 50,000-plus-seat Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, making Australia the center of boxing this weekend.

How often has that happened?

“This is going to be huge,” Kambosos told AAP. “A mega fight is only fitting for it. The Emperor comes back home to fight in front of all his people in the biggest fight ever in Australian boxing.”

Then consider Tim Tszyu, Kostya’s talented son. The younger Tszyu, also from Sydney, has rapidly climbed the junior middleweight rankings with a series of impressive victories. That includes a clear decision over former U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in March.

And it gets better for Tszyu. The WBO has ordered undisputed 154-pound champ Jermell Charlo to defend against its No. 1 contender, Tszyu.

That means that the following is a possibility: If Kambosos defeats Haney and Tszyu fights and beats Charlo, Australia would have two undisputed champions at the same time (assuming titles aren’t vacated or stripped for some reason).

There will be only three undisputed champions in the 17 weight classes after Saturday, Canelo Alvarez (168), Charlo (154) and the winner of the Kambosos-Haney fight. That means Australia would have two of the three if things go Kambosos and Tszyu’s way.

Think about that. Two thirds of the undisputed titles owned by a country of 26 million.

Some cynics might point out that there’s a drop off after Kambosos and Tszyu, which can be argued. The Moloney twins and Michael Zerafa are quality fighters. And there some young Australian fighters who show promise.

At the same time, no other Aussie has matched the accomplishments of Kambosos and Tszyu since Jeff Horn outpointed Manny Pacquiao in 2017.

And, of course, Kambosos could lose to the capable Haney, who is a slight favorite to win on Saturday. And Tszyu could either not get a fight with Charlo or lose it if he does. Many consider Charlo one of the best in the world pound-for-pound.

No matter what happens going forward, though, the Australians can enjoy the present.

Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) is the king of the lightweights until someone knocks him off. The world will be watching to see if that happens on Saturday. And Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs), who has so far lived up to the lofty standards of his name, could follow in Kambosos’ footsteps.

The moment certainly isn’t lost on Kambosos himself.

“It is great to be back home, great to have the support,” he said. “I know that stadium will be buzzing with my support, but I just love to fight. Me and him in there, in that ring. It’s a great moment for Australian boxing, and I am very excited.”

So are boxing fans throughout the country.

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