George Kambosos Jr crowned world unified lightweight champion after defeating Teófimo López

Australian boxer George Kambosos Jr has stunned Teófimo López in a monumental upset to become the unified world lightweight champion.

The three judges had it 115-111 and 115-112 in favour of Kambosos Jr, while the other had it 114-113 for López.

Kambosos Jr’s record moves to 20-0, while López (16-1) suffered his first professional defeat.

The 28-year-old, who had bemoaned the lack of coverage coming his way prior to the fight, should now be able to command far more air time after beating one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world to stand atop a packed lightweight division.

Kambosos Jr’s now holds the WBO, IBF, WBA (Super) and The Ring belts, with just Devin Haney’s WBC belt missing at the 135-pound limit.

George Kambosos Jr has his hand raised in the arm as he becomes the World Lightweight champion
The moment George Kambosos Jr was crowned the unified world lightweight champion.(AAP: Ed Mulholland)

“I am not a king, I am the Emperor,” Kambosos said after the fight, as a bloodied and bruised López stalked around the ring in a fury.

The deposed champion took his first professional defeat badly, claiming everyone knew that he’d won, to boos of derision from the sell-out crowd at the Hulu Theatre in Madison Square Garden.

Those same fans, who roared home-town fighter López into the ring, had been stunned into silence in the very first round as Kambosos timed a sweet overhand right to send the defending champ to the canvas.

Both fighters had been kept out the ring since late 2020 after a litany of issues with the promotional company Triller, and in that time had developed an intense dislike of each other.

Two boxing in the ring fighting
A split decision victory earns Australian George Kambosos Jr the unified lightweight champion belt. (AAP: Ed Mulholland)

That seemed to impact López more, the 24-year-old flying out his corner in a whirlwind of aggression, looking for the first-round knockout he had promised pre-fight.

However, Kambosos calmly met that aggression head on, timing his double jab to perfection while keeping largely out of range of López’s heavy shots.

López was more tentative after that early shock, stalking Kambosos Jr around the ring, but could not find his timing and was repeatedly caught by the Australian, who rejoiced in his early successes by talking at the end of each round, almost toying with his highly-rated opponent.

In the sixth, Kambosos really poked the bear, landing with another overhand right and then winding up that same gloved fist, smiling mockingly at the American.

Australian boxer George Kambosos punches American Teofimo Lopez
There seemed little Teófimo López could do to hurt George Kambosos Jr in a desperately close fight.(Getty: Al Bello)

In the ninth, however, López rocked the Australian with a powerful right to the chin.

It was a punch that rocked Kambosos, who was sent to the ground in the tenth after another chopping right found its mark.

By this time, both men’s faces were bloodied messes, López having been cut over both eyes and Kambosos too bleeding from his right.

If López thought that Kambosos was done after the knockdown, another left that caught the American flush at the start of the eleventh removed all doubt that the Aussie would not crack.

Kambosos finished the stronger and, as both fighters celebrated victory in their corners, most knew only a savage home-town decision would deny Kambosos his place in history.

Look back on how all the action unfolded in our live blog.

Live updates

By Simon Smale

All hail George Kambosos Jr, Emperor of the lightweight division

Well, that was fun.

George Kambosos threw more punches. He landed more punches. He got the decision away from home.

The new unified lightweight champion of the world.

Incredible performance.

What a time for Australian boxing.

Audience comment by Jonno

Simon you do it so well as one previous caller said, it’s like being ringside. Thank you

Audience comment by Billy Bob

great result and great ‘call’.
thanks George + Simon + ABC

Audience comment by Stephen

Thanks for a great commentary. First rate. Well done George Kambosos

By Simon Smale

Getty Images

By Simon Smale

Teófimo López says he won the fight

Teófimo López says he knows he won the fight and that everyone knows he won the fight.

He says he thinks he won 10 of the 12 rounds.

The crowd are booing him.

Kambosos calls him delusional.

Have to agree.

“Take it like a champ, let’s do it again in Australia,” Kambosos says. “80,000 fans in Australia, let’s do it again.”

By Simon Smale

George Kambosos: ‘I’m the Emperor’

“I believed in myself, I backed myself. I’m not the king, I’m the emperor,” he says.

“It was a long long camp.

“Every day I got better and better and better and better.

“It’s my night tonight and it’s gunna be my night for a very long time

“I’m the Emperor.

“I got myself back up, what a warrior,”.

“I’m the greatest Australian fighter in history.”

Audience comment by Burnie

Well done young man. Australia is proud. 😎

Audience comment by Isaac

A new Aussie GOAT is born 🐐

By Simon Smale

Oh. My. Goodness.

Is this the biggest upset victory in Australian boxing history?

Of course Jeff Horn’s performance at Lang Park will take some beating, but this is away from home, a hostile crowd.


Let’s hear from the new unified champ.

Audience comment by Clifford

<br>Great commentary. I feel like i was at the fight.<br>

Audience comment by Chris

Great blog. Thanks for feeding the fight to us! Fantastic stuff.

By Simon Smale

Key Event

George Kambosos wins!

115-111 Kambosos.

114-113 López

115-112 Kambosos!


Getty Images


A split decision victory and a thoroughly deserved one!

He went into the Lions den and has taken down the defending champion!

By Simon Smale

Eddie Hearn has spoken…

Audience comment by Robert

I hope you are right about the points lead Simon

By Simon Smale

We go to the judges

Both men are celebrating.

The commentators are saying that Kambosos did enough to win.

I agree.

I had it 111-115.

Remember though, we are in New York.

By Simon Smale

By Simon Smale

López vs Kambosos Jr, Round 12

Final round.

I have Kambosos up by three.

Kambosos with a dummy then a left.

López lands with a right, Kambosos responds in kind.

López goes to the body, Kambosos shields himself, then unloads with the left!

The pair exchange a flurry of punches, but Kambosos lands with a couple of better jabs and then that left again.

López with the right, Kambosos with the left! 

Big right from López!

Shot from Kambosos! A left to the face! This is brutal stuff!

Kambosos lands with a great shot, and another shot! He is landing more host here!

López lands with an upper cut, but Kambosos comes back!

That’s the bell!

By Simon Smale

López vs Kambosos Jr, Round 11

What a fight this is.

López still in the centre of the ring, but is caught flush by a left from Kambosos.

López tries to come behind the jab, but there is no let up from Kambosos.

They exchange rights. Then López lands a left.

Big right from Kambosos! A shake of the head from López, but that did get him right on the face.

Two lefts from Kambosos.

Both men are cut, López has a lot of blood coming down the left side of his face. If fact, both men’s faces are a bloody mess.

Kambosos lands a couple of shots, a tremendous flurry of scoring shots.

The referee calls a halt though and the referee wants to have a look at the cut…

They’re OK to continue, I think it was caused by a punch, so could end the fight if the referee sees it as bad enough.


López charges at him but a brilliant round from Kambosos!

By Simon Smale

I hope we do not end up with an outrageous hometown decision


It might not come to that… I see a stoppage coming… Kambosos looks rough in his corner…

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