Aussie George Kambosos Jr will finally get the chance to meet unified lightweight champion Teófimo López in the ring on Sunday (AEDT) at the Hulu Theatre in Madison Square Garden, New York.
This is a fight that has been in the offing for more than a year, and in that time plenty of bad blood has developed between the two fighters — including a scuffle between the pair’s fathers at an open workout earlier in the week.
Here’s everything you need to know.
When is George Kambosos Jr vs Teófimo López?
The fight will (finally) take place on Sunday, November 28 (AEDT), or Saturday night in New York.
The main card is set to get underway at 12pm (AEDT), or 11am in Queensland, 11:30am in South Australia, 12:30pm in the Northern Territory and 9am in Western Australia.
The ring walks for the main event will likely be about 2:30pm AEDT.
How can I watch George Kambosos Jr vs Teófimo López?
The fight is available to watch on streaming service DAZN in Australia.
Who is George Kambosos Jr?
George ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos Jr, 28, is an undefeated lightweight from Sydney with a 19-0 record (10 KOs).
Kambosos has not fought in Australia since October 2017, which might account for his relative lack of profile at home in comparison to his domestic rivals, such as Tim Tszyu.
However, Kambosos certainly deserves praise and has earned his shot against López by beating former featherweight champion Lee Selby by split decision in October last year.
“[They] think this is going to be an easy fight for him, but they’re going to find out the hard way next week,” Kambosos said.
Kambosos has been disparaging towards López throughout the build-up to the fight, most recently telling Channel 7 that López is scared of him and has been trying to dodge the fight.
However, there is little doubt that Kambosos is a massive underdog in this contest.
Who is Teófimo López?
Teófimo López is the current unified lightweight world champion, who currently holds the WBO, IBF, WBA (Super), The Ring and WBC (Franchise) titles.
The brash 24-year-old from Brooklyn, New York represented Honduras at the 2016 Olympics and is undefeated as a professional, with a record of 16-0, (12 KOs).
He has held the IBF belt since knocking out Richard Commey in 2019, but really burst into the wider boxing consciousness with a stunning unanimous decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas.
At the time Lomachenko — a three-division world champion — was rated as the second-best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
López is heavy favourite for the fight and has said he’ll knock out Kambosos inside the opening round.
He’s also been looking ahead to his next opponent, with a number of other fighters proposed by both López and his promoter Bob Arum, including Devin Haney, Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson or even a move to super lightweight and the undisputed Scot, Josh Taylor.
Why has this fight taken so long to be made?
This has been a fight long in the offing, so bear with us.
The pair were originally due to fight on June 5 in Miami as a co-main event with Triller’s exhibition between Evander Holyfield and Kevin McBride.
However, that date was moved to June 19, allowing for a full attendance as COVID restrictions eased in Florida.
Then, López tested positive for COVID, meaning the fight was delayed until August 14, although that meant the contest was without a venue as the Miami Marlins were set to play a Major League Baseball game instead.
There were then attempts to sort a venue in the Middle East or Australia, until a date of October 4 at Madison Square Garden was proposed.
However, that Monday night date clashed with NFL’s Monday Night Football, which always dominates the TV ratings and would have undoubtedly affected pay-per-view sales which, considering Triller paid a whopping $US6 million ($8.2 million) to host the fight, had taken on an even higher level of importance.
Triller subsequently moved the fight again, to Brooklyn on October 16, at which point the Kambosos camp finally said enough was enough and asked the IBF to find Triller in default, which it did, costing Triller an estimated $US10 million in lost expenses.
The fight is now promoted by Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Sport.
What’s on the line?
Both fighters boast undefeated records coming into this fight, with López boasting a 16-0 record (12 KOs) and Kambosos a 19-0 record (10 KOs).
Kambosos is the mandatory challenger for López’s IBF lightweight (135lb, 61.2kg weight limit) world title, but all three of his belts are on the line: the WBA, WBO and IBF, making this a fight for the unified lightweight title.
The last Australian to be a unified champion was Daniel Geale, who held the WBA and IBF middleweight titles from 2011 to 2013.
Is Teófimo López the undisputed lightweight champion?
López certainly thinks so.
The American currently holds a version of all four belts at lightweight, the WBO, the IBF, the WBA (Super) and the WBC (Franchise).
So what’s the issue?
Well, the majority of the boxing world does not count the Franchise belt as indicative of the legitimate WBC champion — they believe Devin Haney (26-0) who holds the WBC belt, is the actual champion.
Boxing can, at times, more resemble a gaudy men’s fashion retailer than a sport such are the litany of belts flying around, but the WBC takes it to a completely different level.
At lightweight there are currently three recognised champions in the WBC alone, the Franchise champion López, the champion, Haney and the Interim champion, Jo Jo Diaz.
By the way, the WBA recognises two champions at lightweight, calling López its Super champion and Gervonta Davis its Regular champion, meaning there are currently seven world championship belts on offer across the four governing bodies in the lightweight division.