Many expected Teofimo Lopez Jr. to make quick work of George Kambosos Jr. on Saturday. Instead, Kambosos made history.

The Australian, a huge underdog who predicted he’d give Lopez hell, outworked his American counterpart to win a split decision and the undisputed lightweight championship at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“Have I changed all week? Have I changed my whole career? Never. I believed in myself. … You might not believe in me but I believe in myself,” Kambosos said immediately afterward.

Kambosos’ winning formula wasn’t complicated. The new champion threw and landed more punches than Lopez, one of which put him down in the opening round. And he took everything Lopez was able to land, including one that put him down in Round 10 but didn’t hurt him badly enough to finish him.

Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs) made it clear that he was no pushover with the big overhand right that decked Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs) in the final seconds of Round 1.

George Kambosos celebrates his victory over Teofimo Lopez. Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing

The product of Sydney outboxed and outworked the New Yorker to build a lead on the cards for the next six or seven rounds as Lopez seemed to be preoccupied with landing a knockout blow.

Lopez began to rally around Round 9, when he got busier and landed some of his biggest shots. That included a chopping right that knocked Kambosos onto the canvas about a minute into Round 10.

However, Lopez wasn’t able to finish the job, Kambosos recovered and the Aussie performed well in Rounds 11 and 12 to claim victory.

Two judges scored it for Kambosos, 115-111 and 115-112. The third had it 114-113 for Lopez, who fought through a bad cut above his left eye over the final few  rounds.

Boxing Junkie scored it 114-112 for Kambosos, seven rounds to five.

The victory gives Kambosos all four of the major 135-pound titles, making him Australia’s first undisputed champion in the four-belt era. It also was one of — if not THE — biggest victory by anyone from his country.

“Look at me! I’m the best fighter in Australian history,” he said, with all the belts dropped his body.

An emotional Lopez interrupted Kambosos’ interview at the moment, declaring that he deserved the victory.

“Hell of fighter but I won tonight. Everyone knows that. I don’t care what anyone says. I won tonight,” he said.

Two of the judges saw it differently, which means Lopez received the first loss of his career.

The young man who became an instant star when he outpointed pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko to win his titles in his last fight, in October of last year, must now rebuild.

He promised in a tweet shortly after the fight that he’d be back.

Said Lopez: “They can punch me high, kick me low. It’s going to take more than that to break my soul! God bless everyone and Happy Holidays. See you all back in the ring in 2022.”



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