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George Kambosos' camp went into last weekend's mega showdown against American Devin Haney with heavy hearts after they were rocked by tragedy just days before the fight.
The team had thrown their arms around 29-year-old Terry Nickolas, a member of Kambosos' team who was fighting on the undercard last weekend after his brother tragically passed away during the week.
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Nickolas' brother Angelo passed away from cancer three days before the fight.
Undeterred, Nikolas fulfilled what was revealed on the broadcast to be the dying wish of his brother, pulling on the gloves to face Lachlan Higgins on the undercard in Melbourne.
Gerard Whateley, on commentary duties for Main Event, said it had been a difficult few days for the family as he explained their situation on air.
“The family is dealing with devastation in the past couple of days — Terry’s brother passed away from a cancer battle a couple of days ago and that his dying wish was that Terry take to the ring and the family come from Adelaide to be here for it,” Whateley said.
Nikolas fought out a majority draw against Higgins in a thrilling contest, which won both fighters plenty of fans - particularly for Nickolas under the circumstances.
After the fight he took to Instagram to pay tribute to his brother.
“I’d like to dedicate this fight to my brother Angelo, rest in peace brother,” Terry said.
“I’ll never stop fighting for you man and I’ll always make you proud no matter what. I love you man and I’m going to miss you and nothing is ever going to be the same without you.”
Boxing fans flooded the Aussie fighter with support in the comments.
Even Kambosos, disappointed after his close loss to Haney, made sure to get around his teammate.
“Love ya brother, only few now what you went though this week and you showed more heart than anyone ive ever seen, love ya brother. RIP Angelo,” Kambosos commented.
Kambosos loses thriller in Melbourne to challenger Haney
Haney inflicted Kambosos with the first loss of his 21-fight career at Marvel Stadium on Sunday to add the WBA, WBO and IBF titles to the WBC strap he already held.
The 23-year-old joins an exclusive club of now-eight fighters, including legends Bernard Hopkins, Terence Crawford and Tim Tszyu's looming opponent Jermell Charlo, to unify a division in the 18-year four-belt era.
Two of the judges awarded the bout 116-112 to Haney, with the third giving it 118-110 to The Dream from Las Vegas.
The new undisputed lightweight champion improved his unbeaten record to 28 wins with a pure display of boxing in the biggest fight ever on Australian shores.
"It's amazing for the sport and the country," Kambosos said after graciously handing over his belts to the victor.
"I wanted to take the hardest test and I will give him full respect after his victory. Let him have his time."
While Kambosos landed the heavier blows throughout the 12-round contest, Haney peppered the home hope with left jabs to win over the judges.
A rematch clause was in the $US10 million ($A14 million) contract - of which Kambosos received $US7 million ($A9.7 million) - and promoters Lou DiBella and Top Rank's Bob Arum said Haney would honour it unless he vacated the division to move up to junior welterweight.
Any rematch would almost certainly take place again in Melbourne in October or November, but most definitely in Australia.
DiBella said Kambosos fully deserved the chance to win back his belts - and unify the division himself - after declining to take a "victory lap" and millions of dollars against a lesser opponent than Haney.
"He fought this for personal legacy and he also fought it for the good of boxing and fought it for the good of Australian boxing," DiBella said.
"He believed that this country deserved a big stadium fight."
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