Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr have brought intensity and nastiness every time they’ve met up, and today’s final press conference ahead of Saturday’s DAZN main event was no different.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KO) will be defending his WBA, IBF, and WBO lightweight titles against IBF mandatory challenger Kambosos (19-0, 10 KO). While Teofimo will be a heavy favorite in the fight, he has also seemed the more easily rattled on presser stages. We saw that again today, as Kambosos was able to bait Lopez and his father repeatedly, provoking emotional reactions.
“It’s been a very long road, but I’ve kept my tunnel vision. I’m focused. I feel I’m unbreakable right now,” Kambosos began. “We are ready for war, we’ve been ready for a long time. I was ready in June. I was there. I’ve been patience, I’ve been there every single day, ready to fight. He hasn’t.”
He spoke of what seems to be a personal grudge between the two, downplaying it, at least from his side — which felt like the first of his real bait tactics.
“I’m dressed here for business. This ain’t personal for me, it’s personal for him, for whatever delusional reason he has,” he said. “I feel great, I’m cool, calm, collected. I’m ready for war. I’m ready to take everything he’s got.”
Asked about Teofimo and his father predicting a first round knockout finish on Saturday, Kambosos shrugged it off. “He does not want this bad as I want it. Whatever prediction he’s making, no problem. One round? No problem. We are ready for 12 rounds,” he said. “That’s a testament to the fighter I am.
“Let’s see what he does after that first round when it ain’t over and I’m still standing there. While he’s been in the bright lights, enjoying himself, I’ve been in the dark, in the trenches, in the gym. The hard work. The blood, sweat, and tears. I’m hungry. He says he’s hungry, but he’s lying. I’m hungry.”
“No one believed me when I said we’d beat Lomachenko, and I guess nobody wants to believe me now (about the first round KO prediction),” Lopez said to open. “He’s a businessman? It’s cool with me. Mike Tyson once said, ‘I’m a killer, these guys are businessmen.’ There’s a difference. You gotta have that mentality. We out here to kill, we ain’t here to be businessmen.”
At that point, Kambosos interrupted Lopez, who quickly told him to “shut the fuck up,” noting he’d let Kambosos have his time to speak.
“Sit down, be humble. Shut the fuck up,” Lopez said again. “I am who I am, and I am your champion. I stay focused on what I gotta do. These (titles) are earned, it was never given to me. You’re an asshole for being the way you are, bro. I’m gonna be real with you. You don’t gotta be the way you are. You haven’t even made it to anything and you’re actin’ like your shit don’t stink.”
Lopez and Kambosos continued to speak loudly over top of one another, with others getting involved in the shouting, notably their fathers. Teofimo Sr was on the stage with his son, as he’s also the head trainer, while George Sr was in the audience, mostly directing his barbs toward his fellow dad.
“He can be hungry, but there’s a difference between hungry and starving,” Teofimo stated. I’m starving. My stomach over here flat and shit.”
Taking the chance to stick a solid reply, Kambosos said, “Yeah, I can see that.”
The verbal chaos continued to ramp up, as Teofimo got off of his stool and bounced around the stage. The elder Lopez and the younger Kambosos traded some words, with Teofimo Sr saying, “You’re gonna be forgotten. One-day wonder. Nobody’s gonna know who you are after this fight.”
Kambosos told Teofimo Sr that he’s “a clown,” and said, “The world is laughing at you.”
An increasingly angered younger Teofimo tried to relax his father to a degree. “These are suckers. These are fucking cockroaches,” he said, mostly to his dad. “We step on them. We keep it the way we do. Tune in Saturday night. I ain’t playing no games with these guys.”
“These belts are your curse,” Kambosos said to his opponent. Asked for his own prediction, the challenger said, “Victory by any means. I’m talking all them belts home to Australia. While he’s been in the bright lights enjoying himself, smoking his little hookah, enjoying it with the drinks and partying, going to every fight event like a groupie, I’ve been in the trenches.”
“I’ve only gotten better, every time I fight the best fighters, I become great,” Lopez said to close. “That’s what it’s about. I’ll give kudos to Kambosos for fighting his way to becoming my mandatory. Other than that, I don’t respect you and fuck you.”
“No problem,” Kambosos replied. “I ain’t looking for your respect. I’ll earn it in the ring when I take your belts.”
The two engaged in a lengthy and intense — but not physical — face off, setting the stage for Saturday night.
Lopez vs Kambosos undercard fighter quotes
“The title means everything to me. Once I get the belt, we can talk about unification. ... It’s not so much what it means to Japan, but for me, myself, I’m really excited for this fight and putting on a good fight.”
“I think I’m going to (break hearts) again. I’m going to beat this guy. I said it to Martin Ward and he didn’t believe it until I proved it. I’m sure I’m going to win. ... I’m ready for the fight, but I won’t underestimate him. He’s a good boxer, but I will show him who’s the best.”
“We’ll see how he takes my punches. He’s tough. They say he’s tough, I don’t know, I never fought him before. I’ve just seen his fights. ... (Ogawa) struggles with southpaws. I’m not like the other southpaws, I’m different.”
“We don’t have a world title in South Africa, a credible world title. I’ll be the one to bring it home. This is big for me.”
“I definitely want to keep getting better competition. I feel like I can fight these top guys in my division. I’ve got the skills and talent and everything. As long as I’m in shape and I’m focused, I can beat anybody.”
“I’d destroy Kiko (Martinez). I’m not even gonna lie to you, I’d destroy him. After I take care of Caraballo, you can put me in there with whoever. I’m ready for a title in 2022.”
“I really want to dominate this guy, because Shakur Stevenson fought him and he’s like a big brother to me. Robeisy Ramirez fought him. And I just want to show I can do my job a little faster.”
“It’s going to be a different experience coming home and winning my first title. ... Being for a title gave me a little spark and way more energy than I had. The camp has been on fire. I can’t wait to get in there and show my dominance.”
“I’m just looking to be way more dominant and start building my legacy.”
“I’m really excited to be here. I am from this neighborhood, I grew up in Hell’s Kitchen just blocks away. So to be able to fight here on such a big card, representing women’s boxing, it means a lot to me.”
“I have well over 200 (amateur) fights. Even in my third or fourth fight I think I’m ready to go in there with the top girls.”
“Everyone knows who I am in the amateurs, and I want to make a statement in the pros now and show everyone my skill. I think I’m a very skillful fighter and I want to be able to display that.”
“I’m really glad to be here and I’m excited to be competing on Saturday. I took quite a bit of time out after the Olympics, just to focus on myself mentally and physically. After that, I put everything into training, gave that extra bit more into every session. It will definitely come to fruition — I actually love that word, ‘fruition’ — on Saturday.”
“I’m really excited to be doing more rounds, banking more rounds, getting that valuable experience. ... I’m looking to smash 2022. 22? Yeah, 2022.”
“What I want people to see on Saturday is all my hard work on display in the ring, and that in itself will show I’m world champion material.”
“Lesson learned last fight. It was exciting, but we learned our lesson. I’m looking forward to fighting top names in 2022, but I’m focused on this fight. I sold a lot of tickets to fight here. Everybody will see a huge Chinese wave on Saturday night.”
“I just want to deliver an exciting fight, and I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.”