George Kambosos Beats Teofimo Lopez via Decision to Become Unified Lightweight Champ

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IINovember 28, 2021

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - APRIL 16: George Kambosos Jr. speaks during a press conference for Triller Fight Club at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on April 16, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia ahead of his June 5 lightweight title fight against Teofimo Lopez. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images for Triller)
Al Bello/Getty Images for Triller

George Kambosos Jr. defeated unified lightweight boxing champion Teofimo Lopez by split decision to take his WBA, IBF, WBO and The Ring titles.

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

The moment of glory for George Kambosos Jr. 馃ぉ<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/L%C3%B3pezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#L贸pezKambososJr</a> <a href="https://t.co/Q5DwQ36wzD">pic.twitter.com/Q5DwQ36wzD</a>

Two judges favored Kambosos by 115-111 and 115-112 scores. Lopez won 114-113 on the remaining judge's scorecard.

Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a> <a href="https://t.co/R89aDrQI3D">pic.twitter.com/R89aDrQI3D</a>

Kambosos meant business right away as he dropped Lopez with a right hand in the first round:

ESPN Ringside @ESPNRingside

Kambosos dropped Teofimo in the first round with a massive right hand 馃槷<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a> <br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/DAZNBoxing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DAZNBoxing</a>) <br> <a href="https://t.co/nv8XPWNAG4">pic.twitter.com/nv8XPWNAG4</a>

The crowd was heated for this fight, with the tension between the two boxers clearly evident. Even the referee got caught in the crossfire:

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

The tension is so high in this fight that even the ref got knocked down 馃槦<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/L%C3%B3pezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#L贸pezKambososJr</a> <a href="https://t.co/mGVcIfDlyM">pic.twitter.com/mGVcIfDlyM</a>

Both fighters exchanged powerful blows, including this flurry to end one round:

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

Kambosos lands a few shots, but Te贸fimo answers back to end the round 鈿★笍<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/L%C3%B3pezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#L贸pezKambososJr</a> <a href="https://t.co/CpOqemaoP7">pic.twitter.com/CpOqemaoP7</a>

Lopez looked strong at times in the latter half of the fight, including this sequence:

DAZN Boxing @DAZNBoxing

Kambosos survives the onslaught from Te贸fimo L贸pez 馃槸<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/L%C3%B3pezKambosos?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#L贸pezKambosos</a> <a href="https://t.co/QmAdPpdeya">pic.twitter.com/QmAdPpdeya</a>

His hard work paid off in the form of a 10th-round knockdown:

ESPN Ringside @ESPNRingside

Teofimo returns the favor with a 10th round knockdown 馃憡 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a> <br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/DAZNBoxing?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@DAZNBoxing</a>) <br> <a href="https://t.co/bmhujNKyWE">pic.twitter.com/bmhujNKyWE</a>

Neither man was knocked down in the final two rounds, putting this fight in the judges' hands.

Lopez was not thrilled with the result:

Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger

Big-time boos for Teofimo Lopez, who claims he was robbed and won 10 of the 12 rounds. Said he can鈥檛 make 135 any longer and 鈥渢hey鈥檝e been draining him.鈥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a>

Numerous boxers and analysts felt otherwise, including boxing world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields, as well as undisputed welterweight champ Terence Crawford:

Claressa Gwoat Shields @Claressashields

Teofimo is trippn. He needs to punch in combinations, jab and keep his damn hands up. Kambosos is in his groove right now! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a>

Terence Crawford @terencecrawford

Kambosos winning this fight

Terence Crawford @terencecrawford

That鈥檚 right!!!!

ESPN's Ben Baby and ESPN's Mike Coppinger had this one in Kambosos' favor too:

Ben Baby @Ben_Baby

One thing to win a title.<br><br>An entirely different thing to be a champion. Teofimo Lopez learned that tonight. <br><br>Absolute stunner from George Kambosos. Survived a knockdown to win the unified lightweight title. What a night. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a>

Mike Coppinger @MikeCoppinger

And new! George Kambosos now the No. 1 lightweight in the world, taking all the titles from Teofimo Lopez via split decision in a MONSTER upset. 115-112 and 115-111 for Kambosos, 114-113 for Lopez. I had it 114-112 for Kambosos. Wow. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LopezKambososJr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#LopezKambososJr</a>

What's next for the new champ is entirely up to him, as Michael Benson of talkSPORT noted:

Michael Benson @MichaelBensonn

No rematch clause for Teofimo Lopez vs George Kambosos Jr. Fight was an IBF mandatory which went to purse bids. Kambosos Jr now free to do whatever he pleases.

Lopez, born and raised in Brooklyn, entered the match with a perfect 16-0 professional record (12 knockouts).

He was coming off the biggest bout of his professional career when he won the WBA (Super), WBO and The Ring lightweight titles and retained the IBF belt after beating Vasiliy Lomachenko via unanimous decision on Oct. 17, 2020.

Lopez's resume also includes a gold medal from the 2015 National Gold Gloves.

Kambosos entered the bout with a 19-0 mark (10 knockouts), with his last win coming via split decision over Lee Selby on Oct. 31, 2020. The 28-year-old Australian earned the championship bout as IBF's No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger.

The fight was originally scheduled for June 5, 2021, in Miami, but that plan fell through after Lopez tested positive for COVID-19. The match was then rescheduled for Aug. 14.

However, Ryan O'Hara of The Ring reported that the bout would be moved off that date and onto a Sept. 11 Triller card.

It then moved to Oct. 4 and then Oct. 16. An entire rundown of the ordeal can be found via Brent Brookhouse of CBS Sports.

Finally, ESPN's Mike Coppinger reported on Oct. 20 that the final date for the fight would be Nov. 27, with DAZN airing the proceedings.

And thus, a fight that began taking shape after the IBF's initial mandate 10 months ago finally went down.

It's safe to say the wait was worth it.