Boxing: Lopez looks a step too far for Kambosos
One of the best young boxers on the planet will look to back up his career-defining performance last time out as Teofimo Lopez takes on George Kambosos Jr in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Having beaten Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 to win the WBA, WBO and The Ring lightweight titles, Lopez will put those three belts and his IBF title on the line against the Australian, Kambosos Jr.
Lopez is 1.10 to retain his unbeaten record and his titles, with the challenger 7.00 and the draw priced up at 23.00.
The Takeover complete?
Teofimo Lopez, or The Takeover as he is known, has blitzed his way through the lightweight division in his young career. The American is undefeated in his 16 professional fights and picked up the biggest prize of his career in his victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko.
While Lomachenko may not have been at his brilliant best in that bout, Lopez took full advantage and was controlled in his attacks. Despite his reputation as a knockout artist, three quarters of his wins have come through this method, Lopez didn't chase Loma and leave himself vulnerable on the counter.
That discipline will stand Lopez in good stead but he showed the other side to his game in the fight prior to that win as he took the IBF belt in his bout with Richard Commey in 2019 with a second-round knockout.
The fighter, who represented his father's country Honduras in the 2016 Olympics, is still only 24 years old and is already rated the fifth-best active boxer, pound for pound, by ESPN and the Boxing Writers Association of America.
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After a number of delays, with disputes over venue and promoter pushing the fight further back, George Kambosos Jr is set to finally get his shot at Lopez and his titles.
The Australian is also undefeated, having won his 19 professional bouts. The biggest win of his career came last time out against British fighter Lee Selby by split decision.
Kambosos Jr was good value for that win though, and previously had beaten Mickey Bey in Madison Square Garden, also by split decision.
All in all, nine of Kambosos Jr's 19 wins, and three of his last four, have come on the judges scorecards.
Fighting in Australia for his first 13 bouts, Kambosos Jr has had to work the hard way to get his crack at a world title fight and is deserving of the chance. The mandatory challenger now must make a huge step up if he is to win this bout.
Explosive finish on the cards
Teofimo Lopez's career to this point has been built on explosive punching power and that could come to the fore once more in this bout. The American has produced a number of highlight reel knockouts and will look to continue that against Kambosos Jr.
The Australian should not be underestimated, but the step up to this level may find him out and Lopez is 1.40 to win by knockout.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Takeover's career is that he is still just 24 years old, and if he has improved again following the Lomachenko fight then it will be very hard for Kambosos Jr to lay a glove on him.
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