George Kambosos’ pre-fight confidence carried over fully into the ring Saturday night, allowing him to upset undefeated and undisputed Lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez.
Lopez appeared eager to fulfill his boastful preductions of a first round knockdown, strafing Kambosos with right hands. It was Lopez, however, who hit the canvas as Kambosos timed a right hand that dropped the champion.
Kambosos took Lopez’s subsequent power punches well, growing into the fight and landing his own in return. By the mid-rounds, Kambosos had found a rhythm, jabbing Lopez and ambushing him with combinations to the body that often finished with a left hook made available by Lopez’s low right hand. Offensively, Lopez looked lethargic and uncreative, while Kambosos’ movement made it difficult for Lopez to time anything big.
Kambosos hit the canvas hard in the 10th from a monster right hand, but Lopez head-hunted on the follow up rather than going for an intelligent finish, and seemed to have spent his remaining energy. Kambosos came out to the bell in the 11th refreshed and eager to protect his thin lead.
With the fight seemingly hanging in the balance in the 12th, Kambosos repeated the formula that brought him success in the mid-rounds, jabbing and getting the better of calculated exchanges. Although the announcement of a split-decision was caused for initial concern, two judges rightly awarded the fight to Kambosos, marking a historical chapter for Australian boxing.
It’s unclear whether Teofimo Lopez will seek a rematch or even continue to operate in the Lightweight Division given his large frame and rumors of struggles to make weight, but it’s clear that Lopez will have to reassess his mentality, as his pre and post-fight antics seemed to sour boxing fans even more than his languid performance did.