George Kambosos Jr. brilliantly stuns former unified Lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez to become IBF, WBA and WBO champion via split decision at the Hulu Theater in NYC’s Madison Square Garden
NEW YORK (November 27, 2021) — A lot of time transpired before one of the brightest young stars in boxing could make his long-anticipated return. Unified Lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. headlined a card held at New York’s Madison Square Garden in his first defense of multiple titles versus George Kambosos Jr. The overdue defense streamed live on DAZN.
Unfortunately, too much time may have transpired for the 24-year-old Lopez. The champion came out recklessly swinging for the fences. Kambosos withstood the early aggression. In fact, he remained poised and responded with an overhand right that dropped Lopez.
Nine rounds later Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) finally figured out Kambosos and scored his first knockdown of the fight. The challenger seemed to be hurt badly, but he fought resiliently, and gradually regrouped on the fly.
The 28-year old Australian recovered to have the better showing through most of the two championship rounds. Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) nearly regained the form he displayed through the first 7-8 rounds of the fight in the 12th round. In the end, his grit paid major dividends, as the judges awarded his valor with a split decision.
Kambosos’ victory shakes up things in the Lightweight division with his unexpected takeover of the IBF, WBA and WBO titles.
The two fighters met in the ring with the champion looking to lay serious leather immediately. Kambosos remained poised, evaded some big shots, and stood in with Lopez. Lopez started to land with punishing power shots in the final minute. Kambosos shocked the young champion before the final bell, landing an overhand right that dropped Lopez. The champion beat the 10-count of referee Harvey Dock.
Both fighters went to work with their jabs early in Round 2. Lopez landed a right hook to the body. The two finished out the round attempting to land power punches.
Lopez inched his way forward in the third frame. He jabbed often and followed with power punches. Kambosos fought alert, worked his left jab and added in some hooks with solid results.
In Round 4, Kambosos started waiting less and circled around to set up short combinations. Lopez ate several jabs while still loading up his right hand. The two flurried in the center of the round to close the round. Slight swelling started around the right eye of Lopez.
Kambosos continued to either equal or outland Lopez with his jab. The champion landed some looping power shots over the last 30 seconds. Kambosos tried to sneak in another overhand right ahead of the bell.
Lopez fired off a couple of quick jabs in the opening minutes of Round 6. He still seemed to be hunting for power punches as opposed to truly establishing a good rhythm for his offense. Kambosos stood in composed and continued to touch up the champion. The challenger’s left eye was bloodied at the end of the round. His steady boxing and spacing appeared to become troublesome for Lopez.
In Round 7 Kambosos pestered Lopez with good movement, a well-tucked chin and timely counter punches. Lopez ate a right uppercut late in the round. He jabbed to Kambosos’ body.
Kambosos’ movement kept Lopez in no man’s land in Round 8. Lopez was often out of range, and when close enough he found himself with time for a single punch. Frustration set in for the champion, as if questioning whether he’d accepted fighting on the wrong terms many rounds ago. Another flurry erupted to close the round but Kambosos turned and ducked punches, avoiding anything flush.
Lopez marched forward in the final minute of Round 9, landing a series of punishing blows. Kambosos looked shaky briefly after the two-handed flurry.
Kambosos got back into his groove in Round 10. But the champion finally found his opening. Lopez landed a downward punch to the left side of Kambosos’ head, behind the ear, and the challenger went down. Kambosos beat the 10-count. The action resumed and Lopez bombed away the balance of the round. Kambosos stood on shaky legs at multiple times, but he made it to the end of the. round.
Lopez worked from outside in the 11th. Kambosos regained his form, and resumed working with his lead hand. Blood streamed down the left side of Lopez’s face from a cut around his left eye. Dock stopped the action in the final minute and the cut was examined. Kambosos boxed his way to a comeback round. Lopez looked to land big punches, but wasn’t as successful as the prior round.
Lopez stood up facing his corner, receiving treatment to his injury, during the last break. Kambosos boxed well through opening minute. Lopez responded with a short combination to take a stand. Over the final two minutes Kambosos resumed sticking and moving, making enough contact keep things suspenseful. Both fighters laid it on the line the final 60 seconds. Kambosos fought with the better body language. After the final bell the two stood nose-to-nose briefly. The challenger turned away to go tell those ringside that he was the new champion.
Moments later, scorecards of 115-111, 113-114 and 115-112 confirmed just that. Kambosos remained undefeated, picked up three titles and shook up the division with his split decision victory.
Photos courtesy of Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing