Last Sunday, George Kambosos Jr. shocked the boxing world when he defeated pound for pound superstar Teofimo Lopez to claim the WBO, WBA, IBF, WBC Franchise and Ring Magazine Lightweight titles. The win certifies Kambosos as the best Lightweight in the world and the pound for pound best fighter in Australia.
Kambosos’ upset victory has been dubbed as the biggest win in the history of Australian boxing, as he went to Lopez’s hometown of New York to claim the titles.
With no reported rematch clause being instated for Lopez, the Aussie is free to fight whoever he wants in a Lightweight Division that is the most exciting it has been in recent years.
With that being said, here is a list of the main players who Australia’s new world champion could come across.
Devin Haney (26-0, 25KO)
Although Kambosos’ victory won him most of the Lightweight belts, he is not yet considered the undisputed champion. This is because he needs to win the original WBC Title from current holder Devin Haney.
Despite still being a very young fighter at 22-years-old, Haney has quickly established himself as one of the best 135 pounders in the sport. Haney combines a great blend of speed, power and fight IQ into his game, drawing comparisons to some of boxing’s greats including Floyd Mayweather and Sugar Ray Leonard.
Haney is great at operating his jab and this was best shown in his most recent fight with Jorge Linares. Despite getting rocked in the tenth round, Haney completely out-landed his opponent 215–116 and almost tripled the number of jabs landed in comparison to Linares, 79-29.
Before the 11th round against Linares, Haney had outstruck his opponents for 63 consecutive rounds in total connects.
His next fight is this Sunday when defends his WBC title against Joseph Diaz. The winner will be most likely fighting Kambosos to unify all four belts.
Joseph Diaz Jr. (32-1-1, 15KO)
Joseph Diaz has been one of the biggest surprises in the Lightweight division this year. Diaz had a rough start to the year as weight complications caused him to be stripped of his IBF Super Featherweight title.
Since then, he has moved up to the Lightweight division and passed a tough test as he defeated Javier Fortuna this past July by decision.
Diaz looked better than ever at 135, as he was able to keep up his high activity through all twelve rounds, mixing up forward pressure and hard body shots which made Fortuna a lot more vulnerable later on.
With the win, Diaz has proved to be a great addition to an already stacked Lightweight division.
As mentioned before, Diaz will fight Devin Haney this weekend in what is a very intriguing stylistic matchup.Embed from Getty Images
Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18KO)
Now for a name that even the most casual fans are familiar with, Ryan Garcia.
Nicknamed ‘The Flash’, Garcia is most well-known for his superhuman-like speed and with that has been built up to be the next big money draw in boxing.
Despite still being young at the age of 23, he has drawn comparisons to his promoter Oscar De La Hoya. This is due to his popularity and fan-friendly style of fighting.
Before the start of the year however, Garcia’s wins had come against subpar competition and this raised concern about how he would fair against the elite of the division. This all changed in his fight against Olympic Medallist and former world title challenger Luke Campbell back in January.
Garcia was able to overcome adversity after being dropped in the second round, as he came back to stop his British opponent in the seventh round.
Although Garcia is not the finished article, he has a lot of potential in the sport both in terms of accomplishments and financially.
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Vasyl Lomachenko (15-2, 11KO)
Vasyl Lomachenko is the bogeyman of this division, being regarded by many fans as not only one of the best at Lightweight, but one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world.
Although he has only had 17 fights, he is already a three-division world champion, even winning his first world title in his third pro fight.
Appropriately nicknamed ‘Hi-Tech’, Lomachenko uses next level footwork and head movement to confused dominate his opponents. This deadly combination has seen four of his wins come from his opposition simply quitting on the stool.
These accolades sound amazing, but you really need to see Lomachenko fight to believe the hype.
By the end of 2019, Lomachenko held three of the four Lightweight titles before losing them to Teofimo Lopez in October last year. However, he made a massive statement this year when he outclassed a game Masayoshi Nakatani back in June.
Although Lomachenko hit a minor roadblock, he is still very much in the mix in the Lightweight division. His next fight is against the heavy-hitting Richard Commey on December 12.
Gervonta Davis (25-0, 24KO)
Gervonta Davis is one of the most feared knockout artists in boxing today.
Backed by boxing great Floyd Mayweather as the next big thing, Davis possesses great speed combined with the one-shot knockout power that makes you cringe every time he connects.
Even though Davis is considered a major player at both Lightweight and Super Featherweight, he took a leap of faith into the Light Welterweight division back in June where he stopped the undefeated Mario Barrios in the 11th round.
Davis makes his return to the lightweight division on December 6 when he fights Isaac Cruz.
Isaac Cruz (22-1-1, 15KO)
The final Lightweight contender to keep an eye on is Mexican contender Isaac Cruz.
Cruz is still very young at 23 years of age, and is currently riding an 18-fight win streak. His most recent victory came against former world champion Francisco Vargas in a dominating display.Embed from Getty Images
Cruz embraces the traditional Mexican style of boxing as he usually comes forward and tries to rough his opponents on the inside.
In the Vargas fight, Cruz threw an astounding 548 punches and never looked like he was slowing down.
Isaac Cruz is always in exciting fights, and hopefully we are in for another one on December 6 as he takes on Gervonta Davis.
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