Teofimo Lopez, the exciting 21-year-old prospect in the lightweight division, will look to take another step forward when by facing former European champion Edis Tatli on the April 20 Crawford-Khan pay-per-view undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Mike Coppinger of The RING reports that Lopez (12-0, 10 KO) has agreed to terms for the fight, which is not yet a fully done deal but should be soon.
Lopez, a 2016 Olympian representing Honduras, has become one of the brightest young stars in boxing since turning pro. Top Rank are strongly behind him, and he’s delivered sensationally in the ring, including highlight reel KOs of Mason Menard and Diego Magdaleno in his last two outings on ESPN airwaves.
Tatli (31-2, 10 KO) is a solid veteran fighter, born in what was then Yugoslavia (now Kosovo) and fighting out of Finland, where he’s lived since he was four years old. He’s fought his entire career in Finland save for one bout in Russia back in 2012.
Tatli, 31, challenged Richar Abril for the WBA “world” lightweight title in 2014, losing a decision in Helsinki. He went on to beat Yvan Mendy for the vacant European title in 2015, losing it to Francesco Patera in 2017. Tatli regained the belt from Patera in a rematch seven months later, defended against Frank Urquiaga last August, and then vacated the belt.
If Lopez is the fighter he’s thought to be, the outcome here should be another flashy win, in all honesty. Tatli is a fine fighter and a good opponent for Lopez at this stage, but Tatli isn’t exceptional in any sense, and the thought is that Lopez may be.