Tag Archives: lopez

Vasyl Lomachenko On Teofimo Lopez: “He Holds My Belt”

Posted on 04/08/2020

By: Sean Crose

“There will be very limited time to go outside,” unified lightweight champ Vasyl Lomachenko said of life in his home country of the Ukraine during the international COVID-19 pandemic. “You will have to be in your house. You can’t gather more than two or three people. The situation is like you can only take your dog out for a walk or go out for something very serious. Other than that, you have to sit at home. You can’t even walk with your kids outside. Everyone will be on lockdown. This will go on until April 24 starting on Monday.” 

The fighter known as “Hi Tech” had hoped to be facing off against IBF champ Teofimo Lopez, one of the fastest rising start in boxing. Now, however, he has to wait. “Of course, I was disappointed a little bit,” he told Crystina Poncher of the hoped for fight being put on hold, “but everything that’s happening {with self-quarantines} is happening for the better. The most important thing is for all the people on this planet to get back and get healthy and everything will go back to normal.” As for Lopez, Lomachenko had plenty to say of the rising star. 

“I really think he’s a good boxer,” he told Poncher. “He’s a top fighter. He’s young, he’s hungry, he has big power, and I want this fight. He’s a world champion, and he holds my belt. It’s IBF title.” As far as how an eventual battle with Lopez might end, Lomachenko played it close to the vest. “Nobody knows,” he said. “It’s very unpredictable. Nobody can predict what is going to happen, how it’s going to happen. And the people are talking about which round they are going to knock somebody out or stop somebody. I am getting very, very interested. Now, I want to see.” 

Asked about Lopez’ shoulder roll defense, Lomachenko admitted it’s a difficult tactic to crack. “It is not an easy type of fighting,” he stated. “It is not an easy style. It is easier to fight attacking fighters who are coming forward. It’s much easier. This type of counterpuncher is more difficult to fight. The winner will be who has the better boxing IQ. But that style with the shoulder, I think I know what I have to do to win.” Speaking of the shoulder roll defense, Lomachenko was asked who out of all the boxers in history he’d like to have battled. 

“Of course I would like to fight somebody who is undefeated,” he said, “who has a good history, who has a big name. I think the most interesting name for me to fight would be Floyd Mayweather.”

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Lopez Sr On His Son Teofimo’s Big Victory: I Said We Were Going To Make It Look Easy!

Posted on 12/18/2019

By: Hans Themistode

Madison Square Garden, was filled to the brim to watch Terence Crawford defend his title against Egidijus Kavaliauskas on December 14th. That contest, like many of the others on that card, were viewed as mismatches. The one bout that wasn’t however, was the co-main event between then IBF Lightweight champion Richard Commey and the super popular fighter out of Brooklyn New York, Teofimo Lopez. 

It was a true a toss up level contest, with both men having the ability to pull it off. On one end stood Commey, five feet eight inches, shredded to the bone with dynamite in his fist. On the other end stood Lopez, a decade younger than his opponent and in possession of the ability and skills of a fighter who might be on his way to a special career. 

Photo Credit: Teofimo Lopez Twitter Account

There were too many storylines surrounding this bout to detail them to you now, but the bottomline, this was a contest that could go in any direction. 

As the second round came rolling by, after a very close first round, it was clear that the fans were in for a long night as both men wouldn’t give an inch. The belief of a close contest was thrown right out the window as Lopez landed a beautiful overhand right. Down went Commey. 

When the champion rose to his feet, Lopez unloaded on him without much of a response from Commey, which forced the referee to put a stop to the contest. Everyone was left with their jaws wide open. Everyone except for Lopez’s father. He screamed at anyone who would listen that this is exactly what would happen.

“I told everybody,” said Lopez Sr. “Commey is going to make him look good. This was never a 50/50 fight, he never had a chance. I said we were going to make it look easy.”

Lopez Sr has the right to gloat over his Nostradamus level prediction this past Saturday night

In a fight of this magnitude, you would think that Lopez Sr would have wanted his son to ease his way into the match, especially against such a big puncher. But that just wasn’t the case in this scenario. Lopez Sr wanted his son to end the night early and that is exactly what he did.

“In the second round I told my son to go walk him down and take him out. I told him if you get him hurt don’t let him go. He cracked him man. He’s going to do that to everyone.”

Now that Commey is out of the way of Lopez, the groundwork has already been set for a contest with pound for pound star Vasiliy Lomachenko. This may seem like the sort of contest that will be too much for Lopez at this point in his career, but Lopez Sr is prepared to make everyone eat their words once again. 

“One thing I know is that we are fighting Loma. We’re gonna box him, just like we did with Commey and if the moment presents itself, my son is going to take his neck off.”

Lopez and his father have been calling for a contest with Lomachenko for quite some time. Now that he is in possession of a world title, they will soon get their wish. 

“Now he’s a world champion,” said Lomachenko. “Welcome to my club and see you in April.”

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Terence Crawford and Teofimo Lopez Win by Thrilling Stoppage

Posted on 12/14/2019

By: Sean Crose

Madison Square Garden hosted an ESPN and Top Rank Promotions’ card Saturday night ; which featured undefeated WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford. Omaha’s Crawford, 35-0, putting his belt on the line against California’s (by way of Lithuania) Egidijus Kavaliauskas, 21-0-1, in the main event of the evening.

Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account

In the first bout of the night, Ireland’s Michael Conlan put his 12-0 record to the test against the man who bested him at the 2016 Olympic Games, Russia’s 3-0 Valdimir Nitikin. Conlan was able to control the range in the first. Nitikin managed to have his moments in the second, when he was able to close the distance. The third saw Nitikin go down, though the referee ruled it a slip. The Russian went on to have his moments throughout the round, though it was Conlan who looked to land the cleaner shots. By the fourth, there was a clear pattern in play – Conlan would control the range, while Nitikin would lunge forward at times swinging wildly. 

Conlan was the fighter in control. With that in mind, Nitikin came on strong in the fifth. The sixth round was close and perhaps hard to call for the judges. Nitikin was landing, but was he landing enough? The seventh ended in explosive fashion, with both men trading leather. Things were explosive again in the eighth, with each man firing away. The ninth was a high octane affair, though Conlan may have edged it. Nitikin continued to give it his all in the tenth, though Conlan looked to be the slightly sharper fighter overall. In the end, Conlan walked away with a UD win. 

Next up, IBF Lightweight champ Richard Comey, (29-2), took on colorful rising star Teofimo Lopez (14-0)in a scheduled 12 rounder. The opening round was a very close, sharpshooting affair, which Brooklyn’s Lopez may have edged. Comey was sent down in thunderous fashion in the second, so thunderous that he actually stumbled across the canvas. The brave product of Ghana got to his feet, but Lopez, who was smelling blood, went in for the kill. The referee wisely stopped the fight a few seconds later. A unification bout with Vasyl Lomachenko was talked about immediately afterwards – and with good reason. 

It was time for the main event. The first round was a tight affair, with Crawford starting out in the southpaw stance. By staying disciplined,  Kavaliauskas was able to land hard on Crawford in the second. The third was quite exciting. Both man landed well. Crawford hit the mat at one point, though it was ruled a slip. Each man threw – and landed – hard in the fourth. Crawford also used a right jab to very good effect early on. While Crawford seemed to get the better of his man in the fifth, Kavaliauskas was nothing if not a live dog. It had become a close fight, the kind of fight no one had expected. Still, Crawford appeared to take control in the sixth. 

The seventh saw Kavaliauskas go down thanks to Crawford’s crushing punches. The man got up, however, and was able to survive to the bell. Crawford came on strong again at the end of the eighth. Yet Kavaliauskas was able to survive another round. It didn’t matter. Crawford dropped the challenger hard in the early part of the ninth, then, after Kavaliauskas gamely got to his feet, dropped him once more. The referrer stepped in and stopped the bout.  

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Crawford vs. Kavaliauskas, Commey vs. Lopez Fight Previews

Posted on 12/13/2019

By: William Holmes

On Saturday night the legendary Madison Square Garden Arena in New York, New York will be the host site for Top Rank Promotions latest card to be televised live on ESPN.

Terence Crawford will defend his WBO Welterweight Championship against Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the main event of the night.  The co-main event will be a IBF Lightweight Championship match between Richard Commey and Teofimo Lopez Jr.

The undercard is also stacked with talent.  Michael Conlan will face Vladimir Nikitin in a featherweight bout that will be a rematch of their 2016 Olympic bout.  Other fighters to keep an eye on include Josue Vargas, Julian Rodriguez, Mickey Bey, and George Kambosos Jr.

Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions Twitter Account

The following is a preview of the co-main event and main event of the night.

<strong> Richard Commey (29-2) vs. Teofimo Lopez Jr. (14-0); IBF Lightweight Title </strong>

Teofimo Lopez is one of Top Rank Promotions’ young guns with an incredibly high ceiling.  He’s only twenty two years old and has under fifteen fights as a profressional, but he’s already fighting for a world title.

Lopez is ten years younger than Commey and will be giving up about two and half inches in reach.  Lopez has been the more active fighter of the two, as he fought three times in 2019 and four times in 2018.  Commey only fought twice in 2018 and once in 2017.

Lopez does appear to have a large edge in amateur experience.  He competed in the 2016 Olympics for Honduras and was a US National Golden Gloves Gold Medalist.  Commey has no major international accomplishments as an amateur.

Commey has two losses on his record, but they were both by close split decision to Denish Shafikov and Robert Easter Jr.  He has defeated the likes of Raymundo Beltran, Isa Chaniev, Alejandro Luna, and Hedi Elimani.

Lopez has yet to taste defeat as a professional.  He has defeated the likes of Masayoshi Nakatani, Edis Tatli, Diego Magdaleno, Mason Menard, William Silva, and Vitor Jones.

It will be interesting to see how Lopez handles the reach advantage of tested and rugged veteran. Commey is experienced and will be able to take advantage of any mistakes that Lopez may make.  But Lopez is the good fighter with a strong punch. 

This writer sees Lopez dominating in the middle to late rounds to win a decision victory. 

<strong> Terence Crawford (35-0) vs. Egidijus Kavaliauskas (21-0-1); WBO Welterweight Title </strong>

Terence Crawford is one of the world’s best fighters, but he struggles to land big meaningful fights in a talent rich welterweight division.  

Crawford is thirty two years old and the clock to get a big name fight in his athletic prime is starting to tick. His opponent isn’t much younger as Kavaliauskas is thirty one years old.  Kavaliauskas will have abount a once inch height advantage but Crawford will have a three inch reach advantage.

Both boxers had extensive amateur backgrounds.  Crawford was a former PAL Champ and a US National Champ as an amateur.  Kavaliauskas represented Lithuania in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

Kavaliauskas has been slightly more active than Crawford.  He fought once in 2019, but fought three times in 2018 and in 2017.  Crawford fought once in 2019, and twice in 2018 and in 2017.

Crawford has never tasted defeat as a professional and has won rather convincingly in every bout he’s been involved in.  He has defeated the likes of Amir Khan, Jose Benavidez Jr., Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.  

Kavaliauskas lone blemish on his professional record was a majority draw with Ray Robinson in Philadelphia.  He has defeated the likes of Roberto Arriaza, Juan Carlos Abreu, David Avanesyan, Mahonri Montes, and Prenice Brewer.

Crawford has been angling for a big name fight for what seems like a majority of his career.  He deserves it, but beating Kavaliauskas is expected of him and likely won’t add much hype for his chance at a big name fight.

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Teofimo Lopez Looking To Go From Star Prospect to Champion

Posted on 12/11/2019

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. 

Photo Credit: Teofimo Lopez Twitter Account

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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Teofimo Lopez Looks Forward to Becoming an Undisputed World Champion

Posted on 10/24/2019

By: Hans Themistode

It’s been an explosive start to the career of Lightweight contender Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs). He has made the rounds on Sports Center high light reels for his eye catching knockouts. He might be only roughly 3 years into his career, but he has managed to fight his way to a mandatory position against current IBF belt holder Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs). These two are slated to face off on December 14th, at Madison Square Garden, in New York City.

Following Lopez’s most recent bout, a win against Masayoshi Nakatoni, he heard criticism about his performance for the first time. Nakatani, may have been an undefeated fighter coming into the bout, but he was a relatively unknown commodity.

Lopez would go on to win the contest, but his streak of 5 straight knockout wins came to an end. After the contest, Lopez was not pleased with his own performance, nor was he was happy about personal issues that were going on in his life. With the biggest fight of his young career just a few short months away, Lopez was happy to report that the personal issues that he was dealing with are now a thing of the past.

“I spoke too much about what was going on personally,” said Lopez. “What I needed to do was take a step back from boxing for a little bit and that’s exactly what I did. I just needed to regroup and figure out a few things but everything is one hundred percent for me and I will be ready for my title shot against Commey.”

The IBF belt holder will undoubtedly be the best opponent he has ever faced, but Lopez will have a difficult time focusing on just him come fight night. As first reported by promoter Bob Arum, the winner of Lopez vs Commey have agreed to take on arguably the best fighter in the world in Vasiliy Lomachenko(14-1, 10 KOs) following their contest. For Lopez, should he be victorious, a contest against Lomachenko would be a dream come true.

“I have the chance to win the IBF world title from Commey and then win every belt from Lomachenko. I’ll be undisputed at 22 years of age. That’s unheard of.”

Lopez is right. Becoming an undisputed world champion at such a young age is a feat that hasn’t been done in the sport of boxing. Still, with his dreams almost accomplished, Lopez is keeping his focus on his fight come December 14th.

“I see it as an explosive fight and a great fight and somebody will get hurt.”

Lopez vs Commey is sure to be an action packed slug fest from the very beginning. With the winner of this contest receiving the opportunity to fight for every belt at the Lightweight division, the motivation for this contest will be at an all-time high.

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Is Teofimo Lopez Ready for Richard Commey?

Posted on 08/30/2019

By: Hans Themistode

For a kid with just 14 pro fights, Lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) has made quite a bit of noise.

In a short amount of time he has managed to headline his own card, make constant viral trips on highlight reels and most importantly, climb up the rankings.

As it currently stands, Lopez is the mandatory challenger for the IBF world title held by Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs). At the young age of 22, Lopez has been calling for his shot at a title for some time now. His wish has now been granted as negotiations have begun for a showdown between the two being targeted for Madison Square Garden, on December 14th.

Lopez, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, took the boxing world by storm. His knockout wins over both Mason Menard and Diego Magdaleno caught the attention of many. So did his signature backflip celebration. He’s young, strong and explosive but he’s also lacking in experience.

Going into his contest against Masayoshi Nakatani, Lopez was on a roll. He scored five straight knockouts and was looking to get number six. Nakatani was an unknown fighter making his U.S. debut. Until then, he never fought outside of his native land in Japan.

Everything seemed to be perfectly set up for Lopez. The contest was officially made as an IBF eliminator and it was the first time in the career of Lopez that he would be headlining his own card. What was supposed to be an easy night at the office, turned out to be anything but.

Nakatani landed a number on shots on Lopez throughout the contest. Something that many weren’t accustomed to seeing. The undefeated Brooklyn native found it difficult at times to find a home for his own shots. It was clear that the height and reach advantages that Nakatani possessed, four and three inches respectively, were a problem for Lopez.

For the first time in his career, Lopez fought in the 12th and final round. Although he came through with a wide decision victory, it was clear that it wasn’t the performance that he wanted. Lopez would go on to say that matching up with taller fighters is something that he would like to steer clear of.

“He’s tall but from this point on we’re fighting guys my height,” said Lopez during his post fight interview following his victory against Nakatani. “No more tall guys.”

It wasn’t just the height that caused issues for Lopez, but so did the right hand of Nakatani. Now that Lopez is heading towards his first crack at a world title he will have his own issues to be weary of.

Not only will Commey possess a three inch reach advantage but he also has a devastating right hand. The same sort of punch that Lopez had an issue avoiding his last time out. Commey will also have the edge in terms of experience by a long shot.

Lopez has been calling for his shot at a title for quite some time. He is getting exactly what he has been waiting for. There is no doubt that he is a great young fighter but Commey will push him like he has never been pushed before.

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Teofimo Lopez Outpoints Masayoshi Nakatani to Remain Undefeated

Posted on 07/20/2019

By Robert Aaron Contreras

Looming superstar Teofimo Lopez (14-0, 11 KO) left the ring Saturday night with his undefeated record intact, and a IBF title shot in tow. It was not without a tough go from Masayoshi Nakatani (18-1, 12 KO). In the end, Lopez was still all backflips. His quick hands and mighty fists prevailed, winning 118-110, 118-110 and 119-109.

Though the scores were wider than viewers might have expected. Masayoshi, the visiting fighter from Japan, surprised the crowd at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland, imposing his immense size onto Lopez throughout, never providing an easy target for the upstart’s headhunting. The ringside panel clearly preferred Lopez’s sequences of hard punches over the B-side fighters niggling head and body jabs. Lopez like his harshest critics was not as convinced.

“Horrible,” Lopez summed up his performance for Bernando Osuna after the fight. “It is what it is. He’s tall… this guy was no pushover. But you know what? I went 12 rounds. This is what it’s all about.”

“I showed I could take a punch—man, we’re ready. We’re going to make the fight with [Richard] Commey. And then Lomachenko.”

Lopez, a well-built 5’8”, and the six-foot-even Nakatani stood in sharp contrast with one another. It was the towering lightweight who was eager to get underway. Immediately stepping toward the center of the ring and furring long jabs, pausing to toss out lead left hooks from the orthodox stance.

On two occasions in the opening round Lopez left his feet for his patented, leaping left hooks. But a bevy of jabs secured the first three minutes for Nakatani. As they did in the second period.

Early in Round 3, Nakatani even drive Lopez into the ropes. The former Olympian out of Brooklyn opted to catch and shoot to counteract the imposing challenger in front of him. Lopez timed Nakatani’s body jabs to perfection, pitching a chopping right hand over the Japanese’s long, overextended body shots.

A decent left hook finally exploded on Nakatani’s chin in the fourth frame. And with Lopez on the offensive, a sweeping right hand seemed to knock down Nakatani near the ropes. But the referee called a slip—the replay showed only a glancing punch off the shoulder.

Lopez continued to put his hands together. Circling outside of Nakatani, he darted in, do some light damage, and punch his way out. A big right hand of his coincided with the end of the fifth stanza.

All the while, Nakatani’s jab rattled off with regularity as if a metronome. It for the most part kept Lopez at bay in over the next three rounds. Moments, however, when Nakatani seemed sure he was in control of the pace, Lopez would kill his rhythm by moving into closer position and chain together three-punch combinations, aiming almost exclusively to the head. Nakatani’s chin held up the entire way. But the rounds were becoming tight.

Lopez was not exactly being outmatched, not decisively anyway, but by the tenth period, his inactivity—Nakatani’s output doubling him in jabs: poking and prodding away at his shorter target—did stir a small feeling for an upset on the cards. More headhunting was Lopez’s solution in the penultimate round, already in the longest bout of his professional career. Nakatani remained on top of the 21-year-old hotshot.

The heavy-handed Brooklyn native hung back, still circling, looking to tee off when he got the opportunity. He created his own luck here and there, jabbing surprisingly well with his taller foe, relying on quick hands. Nakatani, having competed across 12 rounds since 2014, was still chugging along.

There was grappling aplenty in the 12 and final frame. Lopez hacked away, looking for home runs. Both fighters would step back, separate, then rush into each other to wrap up, and need to be pried off each other by referee Harvey Dock. No significant punches landed either way, leaving a stench of irresolution in the air as the final bell clanged.

Of course the judges had made up their mind, a long time ago it seemed, siding with Lopez nearly every step of the way. Nakatani would have never stood a chance. No judge gave him more than two rounds. Official Bernard Bruni, the most incredulous, could only find one for him.

The night, the venue and the promotion were behind Lopez. In front of him now is a world title fight.

Subriel Matias def. Maxim Dadashev via 11th-round TKO

Matias (14-0, 14 KO) made a name for himself, overpowering the touted Dadashev (13-1, 11 KO). The Puerto Rican puncher had a real talented, elusive boxer in front of him but gained an early advantage plowing forward, and continued the pressure until the very end, charging stinging punch combinations that convinced trainer Buddy McGirt to pull Dadsehev from the fight ahead of Round 12.

The corner retirement was the right call as the Russian boxer was quickly hospitalized and underwent surgery overnight.

From the outset, Matias walked down his opponent. Paying special attention to Dadashev’s midsection. Dadashev’s jab flickered nicely, driving the punch to the face of his stalking opponent—his feet continuously navigating the ring, zig-zagging, digging concentric circles around Matias.

It was a fine gameplan. But Matias with his shoveling was relentless. The early stages belonged to the Puerto Rican. Dadashev stole back the fourth frame with that buzzing jab. But the pretty punch was gone by the seventh period, with the middle stages going back to Matias.

There was a sliver of hope for Dadashev in Rond 8. But Matias was bulldozing again in the ninth and tenth periods. It was a consistent drumming from Matias. Dadashev, feeling the brunt go it: the left side of his ribcage and the back of his arm were glowing a violent red from the punishment.

For Round 11, Matias delivered uppercuts and shoeshining body work. Dadashev’s fleeting footwork was gone, and his knees more wobbly with every punch.

McGirt could not bring himself to sending Dadashev back out for the final round. And he signaled the first loss of his man’s career.

“Is this worth it?” McGirt recounted after the fight. “I seen he was getting hit with more and more clean shots as the fight went on. God forbid, one punch, can change your whole guy’s life. I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

“I’d rather they be made at me for a day or two than to be mad at me for the rest of their life.”

Matias, at least, moves on. Undefeated since turning professional in 2015, stopping every opponent along the way. A light welterweight title fight is in store for him.

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Teofimo Lopez Fights Masayoshi Nakatani in Title Eliminator

Posted on 07/18/2019

By Robert Aaron Contreras

Returning on July 19 to New York’s Madison Square Garden, it is clear Teofimo Lopez (13-0, 11 KO) was made for boxing’s grand stage—as much for his brass and post-fight celebrations as for his knockouts.

Top Rank Promotions have moved to give the Brooklyn wunderkind his own card on ESPN+ against the undefeated Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12 KO) in title eliminator. On the line is a matchup with IBF beltholder Richard Commey, who Lopez—never one for reticence—began to point out the flaws the lightweight champion demonstrated over Ray Beltran in his last title defense. Beyond that, Bob Arum and Co. already have plans for a unification against one Vasyl Lomachenko.

In April, Lopez was again at MSG. There he picked up a ruinous knockout, this one over European standout Edis Tatli. Tatli had never before been convincingly defeated—his two losses were by conflicting decisions. But the 21-year-old Lopez, with the perspicacity of a star twice his age, eventually plugged a right hand to Tatli’s midsection that spelled the end of the bout in the fifth round.

One win away from a world title fight, Lopez has been fast-tracked to stardom since his professional debut in 2016. Top Rank had no qualms about signing him directly out of the Summer Olympics in Brazil, where he represented Honduras. The burgeoning puncher so far is dominating his competition, registering 11 knockouts in his first 13 pro contests.

His shining moment in the paid ranks came in 2018, pitted against a hardened contender in Mason Menard. Lopez blew him up with an overhand right in under a minute and the knockout went mainstream for Menard’s collapsing in rigor mortis. It complimented Lopez’s celebratory dancing and prancing earlier that year over Diego Magdaleno.

Magdaleno, a former title challenger himself, was made to look like a complete tomato can. Two leaping left hooks in the seventh period from Lopez left the veteran disheveled, stiffened right up on the canvas.

Nakatani, rated No. 3 in the division by the IBF, does not come close to carrying the same kind of punch and is not nearly the household name Lopez is. But in his own right, Nakatani did enter the sport a touted prospect in Japan and since plied his trade among the country’s quality domestic scene.

While there are no lights as bright as the acme of boxing venues that is MSG, the Japanese underdog has at least served as the headliner back home in nine of his previous 12 fights, dating back to 2014 when he won the OPBF lightweight trinket. He enters the weekend an 11-time defending titleholder—the third tier belt it may be, but still a sought-after strap in Asia that prepares its claimant for the full, 12-round distance.

Most recently, Nakatani extended his unbeaten ledger against the well-experienced puncher Hurricane Futa. He excellently negated the barreling Futa with his immense size, jabbing, and managing the momentum of the contest from a safe distance. Hooks from Nakatani would open up his countryman’s eyebrow and the cut forced the referee to call the bout in the fourth frame. It was just Futa’s second stoppage in 34 bouts.

The Japanese after all has three inches in height and reach on Lopez. That length, with his being just under 6-feet tall, gives Nakatani his best (and only) chance of upending one of the sport’s most promising fighters.

Co-Main Event: Maxim Dadashev (13-0, 11 KO) vs. Subriel Matias (13-0, 13 KO), junior welterweight eliminator

Dadashev, a 28-year-old Russian, is a spectacular talent training out of Oxnard, California under Buddy McGirt as well as a part of Egis Klimas’ ballyhooed stable of Eastern Bloc destroyers. His knockouts have made the rounds but his game revolves around adept, even flashy, footwork.

Marching up the sanctioning body rankings—top 5 by both the WBC and IBF—Dadashev is undefeated, turning away a handful of notable opponents. He is already 1-0 on the year. Typically a slow starter, he got off the canvas in March to defeat Ricky Sismundo by fourth-round knockout.

A grafting left hand in the second round from Sismundo put Dadashev on the ground. But the hotshot puncher, soon after detonated a left hand onto his opponent’s chin, all the while moving backwards, for an impressive finish.

Like most prospects stateside do, the California transplant picked up the NABF belt. And he defended the secondary title over former world champion Antonio DeMarco. Demarco was able to rattle Dadashev some time in Rounds 7 and 10. But Dadashev secured a decision victory, outboxing an aged Demarco the rest of the way.

Matias, 27, may be a lesser-known up-and-comer, but he is no less a dangerous one. The Puerto Rican slugger, who is a world-rated super lightweight by three sanctioning bodies, has yet to be read the scorecards in his professional carer. He is a sound composite puncher, bashing all 13 of his opponents inside of six rounds. This includes two-time Olympian Patrick Lopez and the hard-hitting pair of brothers Breidis and Daulis Prescott.

After making the elder Prescott quit from four rounds of steady punishment, Matias two months later dropped Fernando Saucedo in the opening round. And that was enough to convince the opposing corner to pull their man out. Matias’ victim—whose gaudy record of over 60 wins is par for the course for Argentina’s manufactured, promotional machine—was still technically a former world title challenger. As low as featherweight, sure, but not even a sizable two-divisional champion like Rances Barthelemy could take out Saucedo. It took Matias three minutes.

In March, Matias was at the top of the bill in his native Puerto Rico. He had a welterweight veteran in front of him, giving up inches in height to Wilberth Lopez. The same Lopez to extend the distance a bevy of heavy-handed bangers like Alex Saucedo, Isaac Dogboe and Ivan Baranchyk. Matias banged him out in six rounds.

All told, Matias presents Dadashev a real challenge. In fact, the Russian’s team must be confident in him given the high risk-low reward that a lethal, unheralded puncher like Matias concretizes.

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Top Rank PPV Undercard Results: Verdejo, Stevenson, and Lopez Win Impressively

Posted on 04/20/2019

By: William Holmes

The televised undercard of tonight’s PPV featured three fights before the main event between Terence Crawford and Amir Khan.

This event was held at Madison Square Garden and televised live on Pay Per View in a partnership between Top Rank Promotions and ESPN.

The first fight on the undercard was between Felix Verdejo (24-1) and Bryan Vazquez (37-3) in the lightweight division.

Verdejo took control of the center of the ring early on and was landing crisp jabs in conjunction with decent body shots. Vazquez kept a good tight high guard, but he wasn’t very effective when he went on the offensive.

Verdejo landed a good short left hook in the third round but had a small cut under his left eye in the fourth round. Verdejo looked like the fresher fighter in the fifth round and was able to land some good body shots in the sixth.

Vazquez had a strong seventh and eight round and may have stolen them on the judges’ score cards. Verdejo however was the aggressor in the final two rounds and likely took them from Vazquez.

The final scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 98-92 for Felix Verdejo.

The next fight on the undercard was in the featherweight division between Shakur Stevenson (10-0) and Christopher Diaz (24-1)

Stevenson, a southpaw, started off the fight by circling away from the power hand of Diaz and stayed on the outside. Stevenson picked him apart in the second round with a jab and looked to be in good control

Diaz attempted to keep the distance tight in the third and fourth rounds but Stevenson was too accurate of a puncher to be in danger.

Stevenson had a real strong fifth round as his superior hand speed was just taking it over. Diaz had a better sixth round and both fighters crossed feet in the seventh round. Diaz looked like he was reaching for his punches a bit in the eighth round as he was behind on the cards at the time.

Stevenson looked extremely confident going into the final two rounds and coasted to a comfortable victory.

The final scores were 100-90, 99-91, and 98-92 for Shakur Stevenson.

The final fight on the undercard was a lightweight fight between Teofimo Lopez (12-0) and Edis Tatli (31-2) .

Lopez was sharp with his jab early on and landed some good check left hooks in the opening round. He continued to press in the second round and was able to land some good shots to the body.

Lopez continued to press the pace in the third round and had Tatli in full retreat in the fourth round. Lopez went for the stoppage in the fourth as he was winding up on his power shots, but Tatli was able to stay on his feet.

Lopez finished the fight in the fourth round with a vicious body shot that sent Tatli to the mat for the full ten count.

Lopez wins by knockout at 1:32 of the fifth round.

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Ryan Garcia vs. Jose Lopez And Angel Acosta vs. Ganigan Lopez Fight Preview

Posted on 03/29/2019

By: Hans Themistode

The popular, yet polarizing Ryan Garcia (17-0, 14 KOs) makes his 2019 ring debut this Saturday night March 30th. He’ll be taking on Jose Lopez (20-3-1, 14 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio California.

We all know the main storylines here. Garcia has the good looks of a boxing star. He also has the media savvy and flashy combinations as well. At just 20 years old he truly knows how to work a room. He’s already a major attraction. Most importantly the ladies love him.

The one glaring hole in this description is the praise of his boxing ability. The jury is still out on whether or not he has what it takes to be a future super star in the sport.

Garcia has shown glimpses of what he can become. He also has mental lapses as well. With other young prospects in Devin Haney, Shakur Stevenson and Teofimo Lopez apparently advancing ahead of him the time is now for Garcia to prove his worth.

At the tail end of 2018 he went under the tutelage of boxing star Canelo Alvarez’s head coach Eddy Reynoso. It was a move that gave immediate results as he knocked out Braulio Rodriguez in the fifth round of his last ring appearance. Garcia will be expected to have a similar performance against Jose Lopez who is coming off a loss against Jonathan Oquendo via sixth round stoppage. Lopez will be looking to grab the biggest victory of his career as a win against the highly touted Garcia would put him on the fast track to stardom. Garcia however, has no plans of being slowed down.

Lopez will undoubtedly have a tough task ahead of him but he won’t be the only one on this fight card who will be looking to upset the applecart.

Ganigan Lopez (35-8, 19 KOs) will have his hands full as he will be taking on WBO Flyweight champion Angel Acosta (19-1, 19 KOs). That task much like Jose Lopez’s will be a difficult one. Every single one of Acosta’s victory has come via stoppage. The lone blemish on the record of Acosta came at the hands of Kosei Tanaka in 2017. Acosta’s unprecedented power down plays his underrated boxing ability. His combination of power and skill make him a tough out.

Both Jose Lopez and Ganigan Lopez have monumental task ahead of them. They are taking on two fighters who have the power to end the fight at any point. As bleak as the thought of winning may seem it is something that they must achieve come Saturday night.

If both of these men can pull off victories as massive underdogs then the course of their boxing lives will be forever changed. With that being said, Ryan Garcia and Angel Acosta understand what’s at stake here so expect them to not take their opposition lightly.

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PBC on Fox Results: Thurman Defeats Game Lopez, Kownacki and Nyambayar Win

Posted on 01/26/2019

By: William Holmes

The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York was the host site of tonight’s Premier Boxing Champions Card on Fox with three scheduled fights.

The untelevised undercard included a shocking knockout of Marsellos Wilder, the brother of Heavyweight Champion Deontay Wilder, to William Deets.

The first bout of the night was between Claudio Marrero (23-2) and Tugstsogt Nyambayar (10-0) in the featherweight division.

This bout was a WBC Featherweight Title eliminator. Nyambayar, a fighter from Mongolia, had a small but boisterous contingent in the crowd. Nyambayar goes by the nickname of King Tug.

King Tug had a southpaw across from him, but he was able to land some good crosses to the body and quick combinations early.

Marrero showed a good jab in the second round and connected with some straight lefts in the third, but King Tug landed the cleaner and harder punches, and had Marrero wobbly in the thirdrom a good straight right hand and he followed that with some heavy combinations in the fourth.

King Tug’s accuracy was just better in the fifth and both punches landed some good shots in the sixth round, and Tug looked like a mouse was forming under his left eye.

Marrero had a strong seventh and eight rounds as Tug wasn’t as aggressive as in previous rounds and Marrero was landing his right hooks. The ninth round could have been scored either way, and the tenth was also close but Marrero lost a point for landing a punch during the break.

The eleventh round featured combinations from both fighters who let their hands go, but King Tug looked like he landed the better shots. Marrero came out very aggressively in the final round and may have landed some punches in the back of the head before the referee quickly broke them up. Marrero was fighting as if he knew he needed a knockout to win but that knockout never came.
The final scores were 114-113, 115-112, and 116-111 for Tugstogt Nyambayar.

The co-main event of the night was between Adam Kownacki (18-0) and Gerald Washington (19-2-1) in the heavyweight division.

Kownacki had a softer appearance in muscle tone when compares to Washington, but he didn’t appear to be intimated by Washington’s physique as he came at him right away and landed a good right hand followed by a short left hook. Washington was able to land some shots of his own in return, but Kownacki kept up the pressure and a good pace and was beating up Washington in the opening round. Kownacki did have a cut near his eye by the end of the round.

Washington came out aggressively at the start of the second round and landed some good punches, but Kownacki took them well and landed a body shot that quickly slowed the momentum of Washington. A straight right hand from Kownacki knocked Washington down who struggled to get up before the count of ten. The referee allowed him to continue, but two more hard shots from Kownacki forced the referee to step in and stop the fight.

Adam Kownacki wins with an impressive knockout at 1:09 of the second round.

The main event of the night was between Keith Thurman (28-0) and Josesito Lopez (36-7) for the WBA World Welterweight Title.

Thurman was sharp with his counters early on as Lopez pressed the pace and was warned for a low blow early on. Thurman was able to show good in and out movement in the second round and was able to knock Lopez down with a short left hook. Lopez got up by the count of eight and was able to survive the round.

Thurman’s accuracy and movement won him most of the middle rounds, but Lopez remained game and took some of Thurman’s best shots well. Lopez had Thurman’s back against the ropes during the sixth round and was sneaking some punches in, but he really turned the tide in the seventh round.

In the seventh Lopez looked close to knocking Thurman down early in from hard left hooks and was battering him from corner to corner. Thurman was fighting to survive the seventh but looked recovered and well by the eight round.

Thurman landed some heavy shots in the eighth round, but Lopez took those shots well and stayed moving forward applying pressure.

Both boxers landed heavy blows in the ninth round and showed a tremendous chin and a willingness to exchange punches.

Thurman stuck to trying to out box Lopez in the tenth and eleventh round on the ever charging Lopez, and he likely won those rounds despite Lopez being able to sneak in some good shots.

The final scores were 113-113, 115-111, and 117-109 for Keith Thurman.

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PBC on Fox Preview: Thurman vs. Lopez, Washington vs. Kownacki

Posted on 01/25/2019

By: Oliver McManus

Keith Thurman will make his much awaited return to the ring this weekend, as part of PBC on Fox, following extensive injuries to his hand and elbow. 22 months on from a split decision victory over Danny Garcia and Thurman will defend his WBA ‘Super’ Welterweight Championship against Josesito Lopez (36-7).

The welterweight scene, of course, has changed vastly since Thurman’s last bout with the emergence of Errol Spence Jr, Manny Pacquiao’s Indian summer coming to fruition and, indeed, Terence Crawford moving up in weight class. All three pose very real threats to Thurman’s WBA supremacy but One Time will be looking to brush off the cobwebs and establish himself at the top of the division.

At the Barclays Center, this Saturday, it will be a solid indication of how Thurman has responded to injury rehabilitation and what, if any, impact it has had on him as a fighter. A former unified champion, of course, the 31 year old has been in and around the world level for just over six years. It’s been a while – not just in terms of time – since we’ve seen a vintage Thurman performance, however, but he still shunted himself towards pound-for-pound contention.

Openly targeting a fight with Manny Pacquiao, that fight looks likely to happen given the Filipino’s secondary title status but the prospect of the contest remains enticing. Against Josesito, on paper, Thurman should have a relatively easy body of work – you could expect no less after such a lengthy lay-off.

Josesito Lopez isn’t just a name on paper, however, with The Riverside Rocky having been in the ring with Saul Alvarez, Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto – stopped on all three occasions, mind. With three fights since April 2015, the same number as Thurman, the Californian welterweight hasn’t exactly been the most active over recent years. Seen, throughout time, as a decent yardstick for bigger names looking to get a good performance under their belt, Lopez comes out of the blocks fast continuously before fading around the halfway mark.

Seven years on since his latest victory of note – a surprise win over Victor Ortiz – it has to be said that Lopez is likely to pose little in way of threat to Thurman’s 28-fight unbeaten record. Thurman is expected to come through the contest and look good in doing so but any slip-up from the Clearwater-boxer could be exposed on a large scale by his opponent – don’t put your money on an upset victory, though.

The big bruisers on the undercard come by way of San Jose, California and Lomza, Poland as Gerald Washington and Adam Kownacki look to settle a score with their contest scheduled for 10 rounds. Polish born, Brooklyn resident, Kownacki will enter the ring as a betting favourite and boasting a record of 18 and 0 whilst Washington, a marginal underdog, looks to put himself in the frame for another world title shot.

Having challenged for Deontay Wilder’s WBC Championship in February 2017, Washington’s return saw him retire from a contest with Jarrell Miller before, in his only contest of last year, the 36 year old laboured to a victory over John Wesley Nofire. I use the word ‘laboured’ because whilst the win was routine and, to be frank, easy, Washington didn’t pack the explosive punch power of past performances.

Kownacki, on the other hand, has finished fights with Joshua Tufte, Artur Szpilka and Iago Kiladze in comprehensive fashion – all since 2017 – whilst his last contest against Charles Martin saw the two fighters push each-other in a 50/50 contest. Famed for his tendency to keep his hands down low and march forward, Kownacki takes a fair few punches on his way to victory but, thus far, victory has always been his.

Definitively a step up in class for Kownacki – ranked 5th the IBF and 8th with the WBC – he’ll need to be far more defensively orientated if he is to come through unscathed. Washington, despite his age, has the instinct not to allow such a lapse in technicality go untested. One thing you can guarantee from this fight is an utter slugfest.

Make no mistake though, all eyes are on the returning welterweight with Keith Thurman, the man that’s been left behind, seeking to cast aside any doubts about his recovery.

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Thurman “Focused On Getting Better And Much Stronger With Each Fight”

Posted on 01/24/2019

By: Sean Crose

“It was a little bit of a slow start after so many months out of the ring,” says Keith Thurman of training camp, “but I’m feeling great as we get closer to the fight. I’m starting to feel more and more like a world-class athlete again. It’s a good feeling working this hard and it reminds me what it’ll take to continue being the champion.” After close to two years out of the ring, the 28-0 Thurman will be returning this Saturday to face the 36-7-0 Josesito Lopez at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. The card will start airing live at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time as part of the PBC on Fox and Fox Deportes.

“I don’t think ring rust will be an issue,” the Florida based Thurman says. “The only thing that even if this may not be the best Keith Thurman that people have ever seen, we’re focused on getting better and much stronger with each fight. But make no mistake, people will see one of the best welterweights in the world on January 26 at Barclays Center.” Thurman, who has been healing from an injury, actually gave up his WBC welterweight title, though he still holds the major WBA welterweight strap, which he will be defending against Lopez on Saturday.

In truth, there has been a concern about the injury prone Thurman’s time away from the ring, something the undefeated fighter doesn’t make light of. “You always have to be a little worried about new injuries,” says Thurman. “There’s nothing wrong with your car until the day it decides to break down. So at the end of the day, it’s always in the back of my mind. I run a lot of miles, so I wonder about my knees. I wonder about my shoulders also. Athletes and their bodies go through a lot of things. But here I go getting right back into things and I’m totally ready to showcase my talents on January 26.”

As for Lopez, the engaging Thurman refuses to overlookthe veteran of 43 fights. “Josesito,” he says, “is experienced. He’s a busy fighter with good reach. He likes to mix it up and force his opponents to fight. He also has a new coach in Robert Garcia now, and I know he has a lot of confidence in his abilities. Josesito has been through ups and downs in his career, but he’s back on an upswing at the moment. Then he pinpointed me and called me out. So I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Thurman, who has knocked out over three quarters of his opponents, wants to show on Saturday that there’s more to him than just power punching. “”I’m going to show my versatility in the ring,” he says. “I’m going to show Josesito what it’s like to be in the ring with me. He might think it’s just all about my power, but I’ll show him what none of his sparring partners could. I’m going to show everyone the full package of skills I bring and enjoy every second of it.”

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Keith Thurman Plans To “Make A Statement” Against Lopez

Posted on 01/04/2019

By: Sean Crose

“I feel great physically,” says Keith Thurman. “We’re working really hard and just getting back into everything we did before the injury. It feels tremendous and I’m so happy to be able to do this back in Brooklyn. January 26, you will see the return of the number one welterweight in the world” Thurman, of course, is talking about his upcoming bout against well known vet Josesito Lopez at Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center, in a PBC match that will be aired live on Fox. Thurman, who hasn’t fought since he defeated Danny Garcia via split decision in March 2017, will be defending his WBA super world welterweight title.

“I need to come back and stay active and healthy,” the 28-0, frequently injured fighter says. “I’m going to remind everyone this year why I’m one of the baddest men on the planet. At the end of the day, I’m here to make a statement that ‘One Time’ is back.” With fighters such as Errol Spence, Bud Crawford, Manny Pacquiao, and Shawn Porter occupying the welterweight division, Thurman is eager to reassert himself. “My legacy is not over,” he says. “Unification against Danny Garcia was not enough for me. Ultimately, I’m just waiting to be presented with a man who is better than me. There might not be one, but I’m not afraid to let my ‘0’ go.”

Lopez, 36-7, a well regarded warrior, would be happy to oblige Thurman by giving him his first loss. “I’ve been in this position before,” says Lopez, “and I’ve never shied away from big battles. This is another big one and I’m going to be ready for it and become world champion.” Thurman certainly won’t be the first big name Lopez has faced, for Lopez has also shared the ring with the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Andre Berto, Marcos Maidana, Jessie Vargas, and Victor Ortiz. “I’m sure Keith Thurman is as strong and skilled as anyone I’ve ever faced, Lopez says. “He’s undefeated for a reason. I give him his respect for that. I’m preparing for him to be the best fighter I’ve ever faced.”

Lopez certainly isn’t letting Thurman’s time out of the ring impact his mental and physical preparation for the fight. “No matter how active Thurman has been,” he says, “the importance of this opportunity doesn’t change. If anything we might see a better and healthier Keith Thurman than we’ve seen in years. I’m expecting the best Keith Thurman there is.”

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