Kambosos and Lopez each scored a knockdown but the rugged Australian left Madison Square Garden with the titles in tow as a result of the rousing upset.
NEW YORK — George Kambosos Jr. heard Teofimo Lopez predict a first-round knockout and turned the table to almost score one of his own.
Although Kambosos didn't get that first-round KO, he did use a vicious overhand right to score a knockdown in the opening frame and rode it toward a rousing split-decision victory Saturday night to become the new unified world lightweight champion inside the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Although Lopez dropped Kambosos with a right hand of his own in the 10th round, it wasn't enough as judges scored it 115-111 for Kambosos, 114-113 for Lopez and 115-112 for the Australian, who shocked the undefeated champion with the thrilling upset at the end of a war.
"I believed in myself," Kambosos declared to DAZN's Chris Mannix. "I've got all the jewels."
"I'm the better fighter," he added, further stating that his win was the biggest victory in Australian boxing history.
"Hell of a fighter, but I won tonight," Lopez shot back in the center of the ring.
After months of multiple false starts and postponements, many fans thought Lopez would make good on blasting Kambosos out of MSG in a hurry. And it looked that way for a moment as Lopez unloaded everything in his arsenal during the opening round. Kambosos held firm, withstood the attack and caught Lopez with a hellacious overhand right to drop the New Yorker in a stunning moment that would serve as a foreshadowing indicator for what's to come.
But Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) finished the stronger fighter to leave it in judges' hands, where they ultimately declared him the new champion in the biggest win of his pro career. Though both fighters exhibited damage from the 12-round war, Lopez's face looked way worse for wear with a gushing cut leaving his left eye bloody.
So, what seemed as a grand stage for Lopez to lay out the blueprint for a huge 2022 wound up shaking up boxing with a new holder of three (WBA, WBO and IBF) of the four major lightweight titles. Devin Haney is the WBC lightweight champ and used Saturday night to kick Lopez while he's down.
I hope it all make sense now! Teo was a fuckin fraud!
Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) suggested that he may have to move up in weight to 140 pounds after struggling to make 135. Plans for a post-fight press conference were dashed as both fighters were taken to the hospital.
Here's how the entire Lopez-Kambosos fight went.
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Kambosos becomes new unified lightweight champion by split decision
They don't bother touching gloves and want to get right to the action. Kambosos lands a compact left hook. Lopez goes upstairs and to the body with a pair of lefts. Kambosos with a right and now a lunging left that connects. Lopez goes to the body. They trade fire briefly and Lopez digs deep to land a few shots. Stiff right lands for the champ. A right-left combo lands for Lopez, too. They fight to the bell, staring each other down as the judges get ready to decide this one. Hell of a fight. (10-9 Kambosos, 113-113)
Kambosos with a couple of lefts, trying to let Lopez know that he's recovered. Lopez to the body and pops the challenger's head back with a left. Kambosos returns fire with a right-left combo. And back comes Lopez with a right. Kambosos scores on a stiff right, reopening a gash on Lopez's left eye. The referee stops the action to make a ringside doctor check on Lopez's eye. Action resumes as the two trade fire briefly. Kambosos with a right. Close round with Kambosos getting the edge. It comes down to this. What a fight. (10-9 Kambosos, 104-103 Lopez)
Lopez is bringing the pain and unloading on Kambosos, who's on unsteady legs! Lopez tags him with a right. And another! Kambosos is showing plenty of heart, but can he survive the round? Big left hook lands for the champ. Sweeping uppercut for good measure now, too. Lopez can't finish Kambosos this round, but momentum is on his side now. (10-8 Lopez, 95-93 Lopez)
Lopez with a left to the body and a right upstairs. He blasts a right hook off Kambosos' ribs. Kambosos digs an uppercut that finds its mark. Lopez wobbles Kambosos and is bringing the heat with lunging right and lefts around the ring! Kambosos is considerably slower this round with the champ looking the fresher of the two. Kambosos lands a right, but gets rocked with a right at the bell. (10-9 Lopez, 85-85)
They trade shots furiously with the champ getting the better of the exchanges. And he tacks on a left hook for good measure. Clean left hand from the champ. Kambosos with a brief flurry but Lopez storms back and unloads on his mandatory challenger, tagging him with active rights and lefts to take the round. (10-9 Lopez, 76-75 Kambosos)
A big right hand from Kambosos finds its mark on Lopez's face. The champ just doesn't seem to be himself this round in particular thus far. Action is slowing down as each fighter is looking to pick his spots. An uppercut splits the champ's guard and connects for Kambosos. Lopez digs back with a shot at the bell. (10-9 Kambosos, 67-65 Kambosos)
Left hook from Lopez to start things off. Then he goes back to investing to the body with that jab. Kambosos unloads a right that lands flush. And again just misses with that overhand right. A stinging left-right combo from Kambosos now that takes the spit out of the champ's mouth. Lopez lands a couple of shots. A left-right combo lands moments later for the challenger, who winds up his arm to mock the champ. Halfway through. (10-9 Kambosos, 57-56 Kambosos)
Lopez with a lunging right hand that connects. Kambosos digs back with a double jab. Lopez ducks under danger and lands a left hook. They trade shots in the center of the ring. They trade shots again with Lopez getting the better of the exchange. Kambosos smiles at the champ, but Lopez takes the round. (10-9 Lopez, 47-47)
Lopez investing to the body with long jabs. Kambosos sneaks in a left hand. And another. Kambosos with a hard body shot now, too. A left crashes against the champ's jaw. Kambosos told the champ that he's for real and he's making good on that vow. As that's said, Lopez brushes him back with a right. Another body shot from Kambosos. The Australian just misses on an overhand right. They fire fight during the waning seconds of another exciting round. (10-9 Kambosos, 38-37 Kambosos)
A right briefly puts Kambosos on his bicycle around the ring as the champ gives chase. Lopez goes to the body with a right and follows that with a left upstairs. Kambosos comes back with shots of his own. Lunging left lands flush for Lopez but Kambosos eats it. Lopez lands another hard right. They jaw at each other at the bell, the ref gets tangled up in it and takes a fall to the crowd's laughter. (10-9 Lopez, 28-28)
Lopez has a game fire fight on his hands. Let's see how he responds. He delivers a lunging right-left combo. Big body shot from Lopez now, too. Kambosos lands another big right hand — something Lopez is going to have to account for and take caution. Still, Lopez rebounds quite well from that knockdown. (10-9 Lopez, 19-18 Kambosos)
The fighters bang gloves, go to their corners and here's the opening bell. Lopez goes for a right and almost falls backwards due to the force at which he launches the punch. He's going for that knockout he promised in the first round. He's pressuring the contender around the ring. Lopez plants a shot to the body and goes upstairs. Kambosos' face is already red. Lopez lands on a right and another right wobbles Kambosos. Big right hand lands for Lopez! The champ is unloading on Kambosos. Whoa!! The challenger catches the champ and drops him with an overhand right!! Oh my!!
Finally! All those delays have resulted in bad blood between the two, culminating tonight. Will the native New Yorker make good on his vow to finish Kambosos in the first round? Or will the Australian find a way to escape the Hulu Theater at MSG with the unified world lightweight championship in tow? We're about to find out!
Judges have it 115-110, 115-110 and 114-111 all for your winner and new IBF world super featherweight champion Kenichi Ogawa. The Japanese fighter was winning the bout without the pair of knockdowns in the 12th round, but the timely shots certainly clinched the title for Ogawa in grand fashion there. A championship well earned.
Ogawa with a lunging right as Fuzile goes to the clinch. Ogawa ducks under danger and connects on a right-left combo upstairs. He's the aggressor, walking Fuzile down. Both fighters trade shots and Ogawa connects with a solid right hand. Fuzile staggers and is down!
Fuzile fighting to see out his bloody right eye but continues scrapping. Ogawa plants a right hand into Fuzile's chest and adds another moments later. They trade punches as the action intensifies. Ogawa splits Fuzile's guard with a right. (10-9 Ogawa, 105-103 Ogawa)
A ringside doctor checks Fuzile's cut out before the 10th round begins. Big right hand to the body from Ogawa in the opening minute. Lunging left hand from Fuzile brushes Ogawa back. A left to the body brushes Ogawa back some more moments later. Fuzile with enough to take the round. (10-9 Fuzile, 95-94 Ogawa)