Legend Vasiliy Lomachenko on top of the world again after beating George Kambosos in Perth

Ukrainian great wins IBF lightweight title with 11th round stoppage Down Under

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Ukrainian boxing legend Vasiliy Lomachenko became a two-time lightweight world champion and opened the door to some major fights after producing a vintage performance to stop Australia's George Kambosos Jr in the 11th round in Perth on Sunday.

In the main event at a sold-out 15,000-capacity RAC Arena, the strong favourite Lomachenko defied a rowdy home crowd and dominated from the first bell.

Lomachenko, who was controversially beaten on points by Devin Haney last May, left the Australian bloodied and bruised to seal the IBF 135-pound belt after dropping Kambosos several times before the fight was stopped.

It was the first IBF lightweight belt in the glittering career of former WBA and WBC champion Lomachenko, who has also won world titles at featherweight and super featherweight. He is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist.

The victory immediately sparked talk of a potential showdown with Americans Gervonta 'Tank' Davis or Shakur Stevenson. It's also possible Lomachenko faces the winner of next week's WBO lightweight title fight in San Diego between Emanuel Navarrete and Denys Berinchyk.

"I'm again world champion. I want to come back home and spend time with my family," said the 36-year-old Lomachenko when asked about his future.

"We trained hard for this moment. My plan was to adjust to my opponent. This is what I did during the fight and the end of the rounds I need to finish strong.

"I want to say big thank you to my opponent. He's a strong man, he's a true warrior. I want to say thank you to Top Rank who give me this chance, be a champion again, [promoter] Bob Arum and, of course, for all people who support boxing."

Kambosos, a former champion himself after a signature win over Teofimo Lopez in 2021, saw his pre-fight taunts of sending Lomachenko into retirement fall flat.

"He's one of the best of all time. We tried our best, but he's a true champion," said Kambosos, who was defeated for the third time in 24 outings. "I gave it my all. I gave it everything in my training camp."

Both fighters had a point to prove after losing to Haney in recent years.

Kambosos came out aggressively and targeted the body of Lomachenko, who got back into the contest through trademark swift footwork and counter-punching.

The partisan crowd was right behind Kambosos, but southpaw Lomachenko stepped up the intensity in the middle rounds and landed several stinging left jabs that shook his opponent.

He strengthened his grip on the fight in the later rounds, with several hard left-handed blows leaving Kambosos with blood flowing from his right eye. Lomachenko thought he had knocked Kambosos down in the 11th, though it was ruled a slip, but then a vicious body shot did drop the Australian.

Several more unanswered blows prompted the referee to stop the fight after Kambosos dropped to his knee, moments before the towel came in.

What's next for Lomachenko?

Gervonta 'Tank' Davis

Lomachenko hadn't quite finished off Kambosos by the time Davis was already teasing a potential fight. The American, known as 'Tank', faces Frank Martin on June 15 but let it be known through his social media channels that he would like to fight the Ukrainian legend.

Shakur Stevenson

WBC champion Stevenson, who like Lomachenko is promoted by Top Rank, wasn't happy with broadcaster ESPN bringing up Davis's name after the fight as he tweeted out that he should be next in line. In fairness, Bob Arum had said in the week that he is likely to be next in what would be a clash for the purists.

Emanuel Navarrete/Denys Berinchyk

If Lomachenko wants another avenue to unifying titles then a fight against the winner of next weekend's WBO lightweight championship bout between Navarrete and Berinchyk could be tempting. Should volume puncher Navarrete prevail, then it's another easy one to make given they are both under the Top Rank banner.

Updated: May 12, 2024, 8:24 AM