Cocky, brash and arrogant are just a few words that could describe young George “Ferocious” Kambosos Jr.
“I want them to remember my name,” he says.
Looking at the ripped young man from Cronulla covered in ink, you wouldn’t suspect that he was once bullied for being fat when he was younger.
The 21-year-old first got into boxing when he was 11 years old as a way to get into shape during the rugby league off season. While George insists that he was not “heavily bullied”, comments from his school peers like “you’re fat” may have ultimately led him to where he is today.
“My dad said ‘…let’s start getting you a little bit fitter in the off season. What do you want to do?’ So I took up boxing for a bit,” says Kambosos Jr.
“I went from running laps coming last to the next season coming first.”
This simple way to get fitter turned out to be a “life changing” thing for Kambosos Jr.
“I fell in love with it,” he says.
His upcoming fight with Robert “Gummy” Toomey (Friday August 29 at Club Punchbowl for the Australian Lightweight Title) has George’s full attention, where he is prepared to walk out to the meeting before the bout wielding a packet of gummy bears to taunt his opponent, a move that he says “no Australian boxer really does”.
“I like to always stick to a fight. August 29 is my main objective. If you look too far in the future, you end up falling too early,” says Kambosos Jr.
His cocky approach to his upcoming fight, along with his almost arrogant attitude, stem from a pure love of the sport that he fell into as a child.
“It’s a sport. As much as it kill or be killed, it’s a sport,” says Kambosos Jr.
“Without boxing, I don’t know where I’d be.”
He sums up his love for boxing by saying, “This is my livelihood. I don’t know anything else. This is what I do.”
The sport of boxing can prove to be difficult to ascend up the ladder especially in Australia. Kambosos Jr was well aware of this and took it upon himself to get his name out there by combining his brash confidence with the benefits of social media.
“It’s a very tough gig… trying to get that fame and get people behind you,” he says.
With Toomey targeted, Kambosos Jr used social media to get into his head and provoke a reaction to score a fight that is the biggest fight of his life.
“I called him [Toomey] out,” he says. “(I said) ‘Toomey, you’re the champ. Let’s get it on, it’s the fight Australia wants to see’.
“That went onto a big boxing site and exploded on comments.
“Two days later, I got a call from the promoter. Fight’s on.”
Underneath the hard exterior and confident swagger lies a lion whose hard work ethic and determination to be the best wiped out any desire to cut corners to come first when he was a kid. Literally.
“All the kids (would be) cutting the corners and I’d be running normal,” he recalls. “My dad was like ‘Why don’t you cut the corners? You might finish second last’.
“(I replied with) ‘I’m going to do it the right way. I don’t care if I come last, it’ll pay off eventually in the long run’,” says Kambosos Jr.
It would seem overcoming adversity runs in the Kambosos family. George Kambosos Sr – Jr’s paternal grandfather – originally came to Australia from Greece with nothing. He worked hard at two jobs to set up his family to make it what it is today.
“No one disagrees with my choice of boxing,” says Kambosos Jr. “My dad’s always there by my side. He looks after a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff that I shouldn’t be worrying about. My mum’s there making sure I’m eating healthy.”
George’s father Jim Kambosos believes that while boxing isn’t something that every parent wants their child to do, he and his wife are more than happy to support George in his sporting career.
“He took a passion and love for it and he found exactly what he wanted to do because he had a talent for it. We supported him rather than kind of turning him away from it,” says Jim.
“We just said, ‘Look, if that’s what you want to do, we’ll support you in every way.’ We’ve always supported him and we always will.”
George’s love for his family extends to the skin of his body, most of which is covered by ink from his chest, arms and even to his ankles.
“That’s my hobby outside of boxing,” says George regarding his tattoos. “Everything means something to me.”
Branded across his chest in ink is a phrase that George calls one of his mottos: Dream without fear.
“That works with not just boxing but it works anything. Don’t let nothing (sic) stop you.”
– by The Black Widow