While the rest of the lightweight young guns argue amongst themselves over who’ll fight who next time out, kinda-sorta-maybe undisputed champion Teofimo Lopez has a clear opponent ahead of him. The IBF have officially ordered him to face mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr., giving the pair until February 6th to come to terms and avoid a purse bid.
Australia’s Kambosos (19-0, 10 KO), a sparring partner of Manny Pacquiao, scored his first major victory in a December 2019 split decision over Mickey Bey. This set up a final eliminator against former featherweight champion Lee Selby; their initial May 9th date collapsed due to COVID, then the fight went back to a purse bid when Kambosos objected to his reduced payout.
The move paid off for him, as he secured a higher purse when Matchroom once again snagged the rights and attached it to Oleksandr Usyk vs Dereck Chisora on Halloween. “Ferocious” secured a competitive decision win over Selby, and despite Isaac Cruz also winning an eliminator over Diego Magdaleno, he’ll now get a crack at (almost) all the belts.
Kambosos is obviously a far cry from the likes of Ryan Garcia, Gervonta Davis, and Devin Haney, both in terms of ability and marketability, but Lopez (16-0, 12 KO) would be wise to get this obligation out of the way. We’ve seen what happens when champions try to avoid IBF mandatories.