Report- Teofimo Lopez June Defense in New York?
One of the hottest names in boxing may be part of the sport heading back to his backyard in New York later this Summer.
Boxing insider Dan Rafael took to social media in Friday evening to relay that Undisputed Lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez’s next bout, which is likely with IBF mandatory challenger Australian George Kambosos, is under discussion for “the Big Apple,”
Per source, Top Rank would like to put unified lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez’s mandatory vs George Kambosos in NYC June 12 (eve of annual Puerto Rican Day parade). There have been talks about having fight in Australia (Kambosos’ home country) but I'm told that's now unlikely.
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) February 5, 2021
Earlier last month, we wrote that the IBF had mandated that Kambosos, who has been their top contender for almost a year, get a title shot from Lopez next or the champ could face having his belt stripped.
The IBF sent Lopez a letter that read in part,
“IBF Lightweight Champion Teofimo Lopez won the Title on December 14, 2019. His mandatory defense was due on or before September 14, 2020. The leading available number one contender is George Kambosos Jr. George Kambosos Jr.,” said Carlos Ortiz, chairman of the IBF Championship Committee
“Negotiations should commence immediately and be concluded by February 6, 2021. If you are unable to come to an agreement for this bout within 30 days, the IBF will call for a purse bid.”
The New York star, Lopez scored the most impressive win of his career in a 12 round decision on October 17th over Unified champ, Vasyl Lomachenko in Las Vegas. That pushed his career record to 16 – 0, 12 KOs. And, it made him the new “man to beat” at 135 lb.
As for the Aussie, Kambosos, he was last in action on a Halloween winning a hard-fought, split-decision over Britain’s Lee Selby. That made him 19 – 0 with 10 KOs.
Top Rank Boxing and promoter Bob Arum, who represent Lopez, are expected to end up with the contract for Lopez – Kambosos. And, Arum had hinted back in November that he would have liked that bout to be in Australia and pair it on a mega-fight card with the third fight between WBA Super Bantamweight Champion, Joshua Franco of Texas and Australian, Andrew Maloney.
However, as Rafael repeated in his tweet, due to Covid 19 restrictions on travel into Australia, etc. it’s now unlikely that a proposed Lopez-Kambosos bout would be held there.
Obviously, New York continues to have severe “lock down” protocols with no fans allowed at sporting events due to Covid 19. However, the hope would be that later in the Summer some fans could attend, socially distanced for a Lopez defense.
Top Rank could also choose to go back to Las Vegas, where they have held championship cards for months in their “bubble” at the MGM Grand Convention center. Arum has also said that he believes that later this Summer that Nevada will allow some fans, socially distanced to return to bouts there.