Noah Hogan | Staff Writer
Teofimo Lopez did the unthinkable this past Saturday night as he upset reigning champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko, becoming the youngest undisputed champion in boxing at the age of 23, and the first Honduran American born fighter to do so.
Lopez did not rely heavily on his raw power and saw the young champion deliver a stellar technical performance in which he simply outclassed and out boxed the 32 year-old Lomachenko, in what was only both men’s 16th professional fight.
Lopez demonstrated great strategy and discipline in the early rounds of the bout, keeping Loma at the end of his jab and delivering blistering blows to the body of the Ukranian.
“I’m staying composed because I know what he’s trying to do. He’s trying to take me to deep waters. So I had to keep that extra wind for the later rounds,” said Lopez in his post fight interview.
With the decisive conclusion of a fight of this magnitude, Teofimo did more than showcase his talents. He became the first boxer in the four-belt era to unify at the 135 pound limit, ething his name within the ranks of some of today’s pound-for-pound greats such as Canelo Alvaraez, Tyson Fury, and Terrance Crawford.
“As I am more of a UFC fan, it was cool to see Boxing make a resurgence in the sports world. It was a great event and I would love to see these two go at it one more time,” said Oluade Swan, a Hampton University strategic communications major from Atlanta, Georgia.
With scorecards of 117-113, 119-109 and 116-112 completed history in his first title defense of his recently won International Boxing Federation title while also adding Loamchenko’s World Boxing Organization, World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council championships to his collection.
“I’m not a huge boxing fan, although I did hear about this fight and it played out differently than what experts like Max Kellerman said it would,” said Swan.
While never having any previous altercations, Lopez gained more than boxing enthusiasts’ respect Oct. 17, citing that this fight was of a personal matter as he and his father Lopez Sr. have detailed a failed attempt in conversation more than two years ago with the two time Olympic gold medalist, Lomachenko.
Although Lomachenko, being the proud champion that he is, never saw his confidence waiver at any point before the first belle rung.
Commenting in his sit down with ESPN Boxing analyst Mark Kriegel, “Perhaps they didn’t teach him in his neck of the woods that you have to watch your tongue. And when you’re saying such things, you have to answer for them. You can’t simply insult a person because you don’t like him.”
This bad blood ended right where it should have, in the championship rounds with everything on the line. As both men fought nearly everything they had, Lopez edged the victory with a last stand for the ages nearly knocking Lomachenko out, despite a cut above his right eye near the final bell of the 12th round.
“Loma was a hell of a fighter. He knows what he’s doing, but his time is over. I told you guys, I’m smart when I’m in there. I’m going to take bumps and bruises. That’s part of it,” said Lopez.
As contract negotiations were handled by Legendary promoter Bob Arum and company Top Rank, the fight was aired on ESPN. Both fighters agreed to the fight without a rematch clause making this a matchup with major implications.
Lopez ended the night making a declaration to the boxing world that this was the start of a new chapter. Naming other credible prospects such as Shakur Stevenson, Jaron Ennis, and fellow card mate Edgar Bellanga.
Making it clear this was not only a victory for himself but a win for all the young, up and coming fighters who are looking to stamp their name in the history books.
“All it is man, the takeover man, it’s time for the new generation to come up and it was me to lead the way for everybody.”