Finally, after almost a full calendar year since his big upset win over Vasyl Lomachenko saw him take the unified lightweight titles, Teofimo Lopez will make his first title defence. It was on October 17, 2020, when Lopez, 16-0(12) enjoyed that great start (and a strong finish) to take Loma’s belts. The “Takeover” had begun. But then it screeched to a frustrating halt. Fans lost track of how many times Lopez’ maiden defence, against unbeaten IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr, fell through.
Now, at last, the two men who have both been out of the ring for a year, have signed the contract and the fight will go down on a Monday evening, October 4 at the Hulu Theatre inside Madison Square Garden in New York. For a while it looked as though this fight would never happen, with talk at one point of Lopez perhaps dropping the IBF belt and moving on. Now, the deserving Kambosos Jr, 19-0(10) will finally get his shot at Lopez – a fighter he is certain he can and will defeat.
There is plenty of ill-feeling between the two fighters; Kambosos Jr having been angered over Lopez’ catching of COVID-19 for one of the fight’s postponements. Through it all, though, the Australian fighter has remained focused and he has said Lopez will get what’s coming to him. So who wins? It’s an interesting fight, one made more interesting due to to the fact that we have been made to wait so long for it. How will the time out of the ring affect the two fighters? Will one or both men be suffering from ring-rust come October 4?
Will Lopez-Kambosos Jr be an exciting affair, a slugfest even? After all this waiting, let’s hope we do get a great fight. As was the case way back when this fight was first announced, Lopez – who holds wins over Loma, Richard Commey, Masayoshi Nakatini and Diego Magdaleno – has to be the pick to win. But Kambosos Jr – whose best wins came via split decision over Mickey Bey and Lee Selby – might be one of the hungriest world lightweight challengers of recent years.