By: Hans Themistode
It’s been a long time since the sport of boxing has seen this many active world champions at such a young age. WBC Super Middleweight champion David Benavidez is 22 years of age. WBC Lightweight titlist Devin Haney is just 21 years of age. WBO Featherweight belt holder Shakur Stevenson is only 22 as well.
In short, there is a long list of young fighters who already are in possession of championship gold.
This Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, 22 year old Teofimo Lopez will look to add his name to that list as he takes on IBF champion Richard Commey.
The career of Lopez has seemingly been fast tracked. He turned pro in late 2016 and has only 14 contest under his belt. Yet, each time he steps into the ring, he gives off the aura of a well seasoned veteran.
In 2018, Lopez won the ESPN prospect of the year award and will now look to parlay that into a championship.
“If somebody told me that I was going to win my first world title at 22 years old at Madison Square Garden, I wouldn’t believe it but this is huge,” said Lopez. “This is blessings on blessings. Nine weeks in camp and were ready man.”
For as great as Lopez has shown himself to be in his young career, rumors have circulated about constant personal issues within his family. In his last ring appearance against the unheralded Masayoshi Nakatani, Lopez slightly struggled with his much taller opponent. Although he did cruise to a wide unanimous decision victory, Lopez decided to take some time away from the sport in order to get his mind right. His strategy has seemingly worked as he was in high spirits during his media day workout.
“I felt much happier than all my other camps. I don’t feel like I’m back to my old self but just a new self. I’m feeling rejuvenated and ready to go.”
The talent that Lopez has placed on display is eye catching. Equally as impressive, or even more so, is his post fight celebrations. Creative dance moves, backflips, you name it and it’s most likely already apart of his post fight celebration arsenal. With so much on the line in this contest, Lopez did admit to having something up his sleeve if he can secure the victory on Saturday night.
“I have so many ideas but I’m trying to minimize it to see which one will make more noise and which one is going to be trending more.”
With his victory celebrations already prepared and his family issues seemingly behind him, Lopez is now focused on capturing his first world title.
“I feel great, weight is not an issue. I’ve been good mentally and physically, just honestly I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”
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