New York, United States: Teofimo Lopez will end a career long 13-month layoff when he faces Australian challenger George Kambosos in an undisputed lightweight championship bout that featured an astounding eight date changes.
Besides all the postponements, Lopez’s title defence has included six different proposed locations and numerous legal challenges in a soap opera build up featuring in-fighting between boxers, promoters and lawsuits.
But on Saturday the WBA, IBF and WBO champ Lopez will finally put his 135-pound crown on the line against sizeable underdog Kambosos at New York’s Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden.
“I definitely would’ve loved it to fight more this year and that’s what the goal was, to fight two or three times this year, but things happen,” said Lopez. “I got Covid, (promoter) postponed the fight numerous times.
“I’m here now, it’s fight week and I’m going to make sure that 2022 is my year.”
The undefeated Lopez (16-0, with 12 knockouts) is fighting for the first time since his breakthrough win over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 in Las Vegas. He was 23 and in just his 16th fight, but Lopez started quickly against the Ukrainian champ and went on to win by a unanimous decision.
The win elevated Lopez to the rank of undisputed champion but instead of capitalizing on his success, he has endured a lengthy layoff.
He was first scheduled to fight Kambosos at the end of May but a series of postponements followed, including one because Lopez contracted Covid-19. Lopez announced this days after attending the June 12 Shakur Stevenson-Jeremiah Nakathila fight in New Jersey.
The New York-born Lopez represented Honduras at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro but failed to win a medal.
Kambosos, who lives in Sydney, Australia, is a high energy fighter who, like Lopez, hasn’t fought since October of last year. Kambosos earned two split decision victories in his last two fights, against Mickey Bey and Lee Selby.
This is just Kambosos’ third fight on US soil.
“I’ve stayed very patient and I’ve been into work every day, day in day out, and I knew that every day I was going to get better and better. And when the fight would come, I would be 110 percent ready,” Kambosos said.
With a win Saturday, Lopez could be looking at a future fight against Devin Haney, who holds the WBC lightweight belt. Another option could be a bout with rising star Gervonta Davis.
The undercard will feature Azinga Fuzile vs. Kenichi Ogawa for vacant IBF junior featherweight title and Ray Ford vs. Felix Caraballo in a featherweight contest.