Teofimo Lopez will be back in a ring, almost exactly a year after his thriller victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko, but it won’t be against George Kambosos, it appears.
The winding road that is the IBF lightweight title defense for the Brooklyn born Las Vegas resident has been twisty, with newbie promotional company Triller flattening their learning curve as the date and site for the clash has gotten penciled in, cemented, switched, and now, it’s looking like, firmed up.
Triller boxing boss Ryan Kavanaugh confirmed to NY FIGHTS that he’s informed the IBF that he’s keen to have Lopez glove up Oct. 16, but not versus the Aussie athlete Kambosos, who owns a 19-0 record.
According to Kavanaugh, Triller set a deadline of September 30, for Kambosos to sign off on an agreement to switch the tussle from Oct. 4 at the Madison Square Garden Theatre to Oct. 16, at an alternate venue, rumored to be in Brooklyn.
That didn’t happen, so Triller sent a letter to the IBF informing the sanctioning body that they are looking to book a contender just behind Kambosos in the IBF lightweight top ten into a shotgun marriage meeting with Lopez (16-0 record).
Kambosos is ranked No. 1 by the IBF, that’s why he was designated as the first test for the 24 year old Teofimo after the Loma triumph. Isaac Cruz (22-1-1 Mexican) is No. 2, followed by Gustavo Lemos (27-0 from Argentina) at 3, then Lee Selby (28-3 Brit, last fought Oct. 31 2020, losing to Kambosos) at 4, Richard Commey (30-3 Ghanaian) at 5 and look who is No. 6—Vasiliy Lomachenko (15-2 Ukrainian).
Triller is seeking that Kambosos be stripped of his IBF ranking, that the company gets refunded deposit money they forwarded to the IBF as the proposed tussle got bumped from June 5, to June 19, to October 4, after Lopez contracted COVID. Team Triller wishes for the IBF to fashion a purse bid with an available contender, and they’ll reserve the right to bid, or not, on the changed-up challenge to young Lopez.
We’d expect Kambosos to chafe at Triller’s desired revamp, so it’s possible, or more likely, probable that we see a twist or two more before this matter gets clarified completely.
And regarding clarity…Plenty of NY-area fight fans have been following the non linear path of Teofimo’s first title defense, and are keen to know locked-down details on the Lopez ring return.
A letter went out to the IBF on Thursday, Kavanaugh said, which contained phrasing resembling clarity:
“Triller has a full event planned for October 16th with musical acts. Triller has the venue locked and a show that will wow the masses. Triller will be holding the event on October 16th with or without Kambosos. It has a very excited undercard bout, very exciting music acts and a show that will certainly make headlines. We assure you and the world Triller will have this event on October 16th with or without Kambosos, Lopez, or the IBF.”
Ok, that last declaration in fact suggests continuing plot twists are to come regarding key components of the Oct. 16 card.
So, I reached out to Kavanaugh, who offered this update: “It's the 16th and 17th,” the former Hollywood honcho said. “We passed on Kambosos. Full steam ahead!”
So as of now, Kavanaugh pictures a two-fer; a fight card/Verzuz music offering Saturday, Oct. 16–and the grapevine whispers Vitor Belfort could be part of that mix—and a Verzuz music fest at the same rumored-to-be-in Brooklyn venue Oct. 17.
I suppose we need to learn how the IBF views the matter and how Kambosos and his management respond to the Triller talk of a deadline being missed and the promoter seeking to insert a replacement for the Aussie underdog against Lopez.
And come to think of it, it is fitting given the tumult the world has experienced the last couple years that we must wait an indeterminate period before celebrating complete clarity on the Teofimo Lopez return to the ring.