Teofimo Lopez to Fight Sandor Martin Next Month in New York

Teofimo Lopez has reportedly locked in his next opponent…

The 25-year-old Honduran American boxer and former lightweight champion has agreed to fight Sandor Martin on December 10 in New York, according to ESPN.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) replaces Jose Pedraza, who withdrew from the 140-pound Top Rank on ESPN bout with a non-COVID illness.

Martin, a 29-year-old Spaniard, scored a career-best win last year with a major upset of Mikey Garcia. Martin had never competed outside Europe but traveled to California as a 10-1 underdog to defeat Garcia, a former four-division champion, via majority decision. Garcia announced his retirement afterward. 

Now, Martin has parlayed that victory into another career-defining opportunity. He was considered for the Lopez assignment before Pedraza landed the fight, but he remained in training.

A tricky boxer with an impressive jab, Martin will once again be facing long odds.

Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) was recognized as one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters before he dropped a decision to George Kambosos last November in ESPN‘s upset of the year. It was later revealed that Lopez fought Kambosos with a slight esophageal tear.

Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, returned from his first defeat in August with a seventh-round TKO over Pedro Campa in his 140-pound debut. His 135-pound campaign included a victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko to capture the undisputed lightweight championship.

This will be Lopez’s third fight following ESPN’s annual coverage of the Heisman Trophy presentation. He’s rated No. 9 at junior welterweight.

Teofimo Lopez In Final Talks to Fight Jose Pedraza in December

Teofimo Lopez is thisclose to booking his next bout…

The 25-year-old Honduran American boxer, a former unified lightweight world champion, is in the process of finalizing a deal for a December10 junior welterweight fight against Jose Pedraza in New York.

Teofimo LopezThe bout will be Lopez’s second at 140 pounds following a 135-pound campaign that included a victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko to capture the undisputed lightweight championship.

It will be the third time that Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) would fight following ESPN‘s coverage of the Heisman Trophy presentation.

Lopez, who fights out of Las Vegas, returned from his first defeat in August with a seventh-round TKO over Pedro Campa.

Pedraza (29-4-1, 14 KOs), a 33-year-old from Puerto Rico, is a far tougher test as a former two-division champion. He was stopped by Gervonta Davis in Round 7 of a 2017 matchup at 130 pounds but went on to win a vacant 135-pound title with a victory over Ray Beltran one year later.

Pedraza lost that lightweight belt to Lomachenko via decision later in 2018 and dropped another decision to Jose Zepeda in 2019. Pedraza won three bouts against lesser opposition but is winless in his past two outings — a decision defeat to Jose Ramirez in March and a draw with Richard Commey in August.

Lopez was recognized as one of the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters before he dropped a decision to George Kambosos in November in ESPN‘s upset of the year. It was later revealed that Lopez fought Kambosos with a slight esophageal tear.

Lopez subsequently moved to 140 pounds, where he could challenge for a title next year with a win against Pedraza.

Jamaine Ortiz to Fight Vasiliy Lomachenko in October

Jamaine Ortiz has lined up his next opponent…

The 26-year-old Dominican and Puerto Rican professional boxer and Vasiliy Lomachenko have agreed to a deal for a lightweight fight that’s targeted for late October, according to ESPN.

Jamaine OrtizNo site has been finalized for the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN main event, sources said.

Lomachenko, formerly ESPN’s pound-for-pound No. 1 boxer, last competed in December, recording a unanimous decision victory over Richard Commey. He agreed to a deal for a fight against George Kambosos for four lightweight belts in June, but instead elected to remain in Ukraine when Russia invaded.

The 34-year-old even joined a territorial defense battalion, as did his good friend, heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, who meets Anthony Joshua in a rematch on Saturday.

On Tuesday, Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs) arrived in Los Angeles to begin training camp in pursuit of the undisputed lightweight championship. Devin Haney stepped in when Lomachenko stayed in Ukraine and went on to soundly outpoint Kambosos in Australia to capture the undisputed 135-pound championship.

Haney and Kambosos are set for an Oct. 15 rematch in Melbourne, Australia, on ESPN, and the winner could be lined up for a defense vs. Lomachenko next year.

In the meantime, Lomachenko will prepare for the potential summit meeting with a matchup against Ortiz (16-0-1, 8 KOs), who broke out with a unanimous decision victory over Jamel Herring in May that led to the former champion’s retirement.

Ortiz, from Worcester, Massachusetts, has never faced anyone close to Lomachenko’s level, and even the Herring fight was a quantum leap in competition. Ortiz’s lone blemish is an eight-round draw with Joseph Adorno last year.

Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, lost his three lightweight titles to Teofimo Lopez in 2020 and subsequently underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. He’s rated No. 2 at lightweight and No. 9 in pound-for-pound rankings.

The chief-support bout is slated to be a featherweight matchup between Robeisy Ramirez and Jessie Magdaleno, sources said, after the sides agreed to a deal.

Edgar Berlanga to Fight Steve Rolls in Super Middleweight Bout This March

Edgar Berlanga is heading back to the ring this Spring…

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer has agreed to terms for a super middleweight fight against Steve Rolls on March 19 at Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, according to ESPN.

Edgar Berlanga

The bout will be Berlanga’s first since he tore his left biceps in Round 3 of his victory over Marcelo Esteban Coceres in October. Berlanga (18-0, 16 KOs) struggled at times in the fight and was even floored in Round 9, the first knockdown of his career.

Following surgery, the 24-year-old rehabbed at the UFC Performance Institute in Las Vegas in preparation for his first headline bout on ESPN. Berlanga, a native of Brooklyn, New York, scored 16 first-round KOs in his first 16 fights.

His April decision win over Demond Nicholson, a fight in which he scored four knockdowns, was the first time he was extended past the opening round.

Before the injury, the bout with Rolls had been eyed as the December 11 co-feature to the Vasiliy LomachenkoRichard Commey fight.

Rolls (21-1, 12 KOs), a 37-year-old Canadian, is best known for his fourth-round KO loss to Gennadiy Golovkin in 2019. He has competed just twice since then, both wins inside the distance.

Joseph Diaz Jr. Agrees to WBC Lightweight Title Fight Against Devin Haney

Joseph Diaz Jr. is thisclose to a title fight…

The 28-year-old Mexican American boxer and Devin Haney have agreed to terms for a WBC lightweight title fight on December 3 or December 4 in Las Vegas on DAZN, according to ESPN.Joseph Diaz Jr.

Contracts haven’t been signed yet but details are in the process of being finalized, sources said. The framework of the deal includes a rematch clause in the event Haney loses.

The fight is part of an intriguing three-week stretch for the lightweight division. Teofimo Lopez, who holds four lightweight titles, fights George Kambosos on November 27 on DAZN.

One week later, Eddie Hearn will promote another important lightweight fight with the Haney-Diaz clash. That same weekend, on December 5, Gervonta Davis fights Rolando Romero on Showtime PPV.

And then on December 11 on ESPN, Vasiliy Lomachenko meets Richard Commey.

The Haney-Diaz agreement caps months of back-and-forth insults traded between the boxers. When Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) agreed to fight Ryan Garcia on November 27, Haney (26-0, 15 KOs) accused Diaz of ducking a chance at him.

But that fight fell through when Garcia suffered a hand injury in training and underwent surgery on Monday. With Haney and Diaz both in need of an end-of-year fight, the matchup made too much sense for all parties.

Haney, ESPN’s No. 3 lightweight, is coming off the biggest win of his career, a May decision victory over former champion Jorge Linares. Diaz, too, is coming off a strong performance, a July points win over Javier Fortuna that earned him the No. 7 spot in ESPN’s lightweight rankings.

That was the Olympian’s first fight at 135 pounds. He defeated Tevin Farmer in 2020 to win a 130-pound title and in his other title bid, lost to Gary Russell Jr. at 126 pounds in 2018.

Haney, No. 3 on ESPN’s list of the top 25 boxers under 25, is one of the sport’s fastest-rising stars. The Las Vegas-based fighter boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram, and with his abundant charisma, surely has a chance to break through to the mainstream. What’s stopped him thus far is lack of opposition.

The 22-year-old Haney often calls himself the most-avoided fighter in the sport. That can no longer be said with a stern challenger in Diaz lined up for December.

Teofimo Lopez to Fight George Kambosos in October

Teofimo Lopez is officially ready to rumble…

The 24-year-old Honduran American boxer and George Kambosos have signed contracts for an undisputed lightweight title fight that will take place on October 4 at New York’s Hulu Theater at MSG, Triller COO Thorsten Meier tells ESPN.

Teofimo Lopez

The fight was set for October 5, but Triller moved the fight to avoid competing with a potential wild-card playoff game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in New York. If the MLB season ended today, that game would take place on October 5.

“We want to make sure the sporting fans can see both amazing events,” Meier said.

Lopez-Kambosos will be the rare Monday evening boxing match in a sport that usually — with rare exception — holds its notable events on Saturday. It’s yet another date change for the seemingly snakebitten event.

Triller won the rights to the fight at a February purse bid with $6.018 million. The fight was planned for June 5 before it was officially set for June 19 in Miami. In the days leading up to the bout, Lopez tested positive for COVID-19.

Triller announced a rescheduled date of August 14 before it looked to stage the fight on October 17 in Sydney, Australia. Lopez balked at the government-mandated 14-day quarantine, leading to a legal battle. The IBF ultimately ruled the fight couldn’t take place in a location that requires quarantine.

The bout between Lopez, a Brooklyn native, and Kambosos, a 28-year-old Australian, was then planned for October 5.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is ESPN‘s No. 1 lightweight and No. 5 pound-for-pound fighter. He won the undisputed championship in October with a unanimous-decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), ESPN’s No. 9 lightweight, earned the title shot with a split-decision win over Lee Selby later that month.

Edgar Berlanga Agrees to Two-Fight Plan with Top Rank Boxing

Edgar Berlanga is ready to rumble… twice.

The 24-year-old Puerto Rican boxer has agreed to terms on a two-fight plan with Top Rank.

Edgar Berlanga

The first bout comes October 9 in Las Vegas against Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Berlanga said, in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing show on an ESPN platform that will lead into the Tyson FuryDeontay Wilder III fight on pay-per-view.

Berlanga’s second fight is December 11, the co-feature to Vasiliy Lomachenko‘s return in New York at Madison Square Garden. An opponent has yet to be finalized for that bout. The power-punching super middleweight Berlanga is in the midst of a multiyear deal with Top Rank. Financial terms were finalized for both of his upcoming fights.

“I’m knocking these guys in October and December; we’re not going to the scorecards,” said Berlanga (17-0, 16 KOs). “I want to let the world know after these two fights that I’m the guy they need to worry about.”

Berlanga was extended the distance for the first time in his last bout, an April win over Demond Nicholson. It was the first time Berlanga heard the bell to signal the start of Round 2 in his pro career. He scored first-round knockouts in each of his first 16 fights.

Berlanga dropped Nicholson three times but settled for the unanimous-decision victory. The Brooklynite will now face another durable opponent in Coceres (30-2-1, 16 KOs). The 30-year-old Argentine is best known for an 11th-round KO loss to Billy Joe Saunders in a 2019 title fight. That was his only fight outside of Argentina.

In January, Coceres lost again, this time a split-decision defeat to Sebastian Horacio Papeschi in Argentina. He rebounded with a second-round stoppage win in June over Nelson Nicolas Rosalez.

The two-fight plan promises to give Berlanga his greatest exposure yet as he inches closer to title contention. Despite 17 pro fights, he remains inexperienced with just 24 rounds in the professional ranks.

If all goes according to plan, Berlanga will return in March to Puerto Rico (the country his family hails from) before headlining at Madison Square Garden in June on Puerto Rican Parade Day weekend.

Teofimo Lopez’s Championship Fight Against George Kambosos May Take Place in the Middle East

Teofimo Lopez could be throwing punches in the Middle East…

In the never-ending saga to find a new fight date and location for the 24-year-old Honduran American boxer and George Kambosos, Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh says he’s planning to stage the rescheduled undisputed lightweight championship fight in October in the Middle East.

Teofimo Lopez Jr.

“We are currently working with the regulatory bodies to bring this fight to Saudi [Arabia] or UAE [United Arab Emirates] in October,” Kavanaugh said. “We think it’s the perfect place for such a landmark fight.”

Triller hoped to stage the fight on October 17 in Sydney, but Lopez balked at the 14-day quarantine mandated by the Australian government. The disagreement led to an IBF ruling, handed down last week, that Triller must stage the fight in a location that doesn’t require a quarantine.

The New Jersey-based sanctioning body also gave Triller until October 17 to hold the fight; contracts are due by August 24.

“Can’t wait to see the details,” Lopez’s manager, David McWater, told ESPN when informed of Triller’s Middle East plan. “We were always willing to go anywhere we didn’t have to quarantine.”

In the event Triller fails to submit contracts by August 24, the rights to the fight will revert to the next-highest bidder at February’s auction. That would be Eddie Hearn‘s Matchroom, which bid $3.506 million. Lopez’s promoter, Top Rank, came in third at $2.315 million. Triller won the rights with a bid of $6.018 million.

The matchup was initially set for June 19 in Miami, where Lopez grew up, but he tested positive for COVID-19 weeks before the fight.

“He feels great,” McWater said. “He’s been training.”

Lopez, ESPN’s No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer, unified all four 135-pound titles with a majority decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October. He was ordered by the IBF to face Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) next, but Lopez and Top Rank couldn’t agree on money. That led to the auction, where Triller gobbled up the rights.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is set to earn a career-high $3.912 million; he made $1.35 million for the Lomachenko bout.

Kambosos, ESPN’s No. 9 lightweight, will earn $2.106 million, also a career high. The 28-year-old Australian fighter became the IBF’s No. 1 contender with a split decision win over Lee Selby in October.

Earlier that month, Lopez added three more titles to his collection with his win over Lomachenko. He won his first title with a second-round KO of Richard Commey in December 2019.

Now, Lopez appears to be inching closer to the first defense of his undisputed lightweight crown.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. Defeats Javier Fortuna to Claim Vacant WBC Interim Lightweight Title

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. is celebrating his good fortuna

The 28-year-old Mexican American professional boxer delivered the most impressive performance of his career on Friday in Los Angeles, scoring a unanimous decision over Javier Fortuna to claim the vacant WBC interim lightweight title.

Joseph "JoJo" Diaz Jr.

Scores were 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112. ESPN also scored it 115-112.

In his lightweight debut, Diaz (32-1-1, 15 KOs) showed he could absorb heavy shots from a dangerous puncher and carry his own power, too. He wobbled Fortuna toward the end of the 10th round of a fight that featured some brutal exchanges on the inside, often waged at a frenetic pace.

“I can fight all the top guys at 135 pounds,” said Diaz, who entered the bout as ESPN’s No. 5 boxer at 130 pounds. “I want Ryan Garcia or Devin Haney. Let’s make this s— happen.

“I’ve been sparring 160 pounders. I’ve always worked with bigger guys my whole life.”

Despite fighting for his first world title at 126 pounds (a close decision defeat to Gary Russell Jr.) before capturing a championship at 130, 135 appears to be Diaz’s most natural weight class. He looked stronger than ever, and without the tough weight cut, showed off energy down the stretch to unleash four- and five-punch combinations against a crafty contender.

The 2012 Olympian was forced to deal with adversity yet again. He suffered a cut over his left eye in Round 3 following a clash of heads — a gash in the same area he bled from in his title-winning effort vs. Tevin Farmer in January 2020.

The following frame, Diaz was penalized one point by referee Raul Caiz Jr., for hitting behind the head, a point deduction that seemed borderline. Diaz argued that he was hitting Fortuna on the side of the head to no avail.

Fortuna, ESPN’s No. 8 fighter at 135 pounds, pressed the action in Rounds 5 and 6, beating Diaz to the punch with power shots. But the 31-year-old couldn’t sustain.

Fighting in front of a hometown crowd at Banc of California Stadium, Diaz ratcheted up the pressure and began to dig away at Fortuna’s body with a two-fisted attack that stunted the Dominican’s momentum.

Diaz simply landed the cleaner, flusher shots in the exchanges down the stretch, winning the favor of the judges in a bout that featured many tit-for-tat rounds. Fortuna threw 761 punches — 240 more than Diaz — yet landed 10 less shots.

With the convincing victory, Diaz set himself up for a career-high payday in one of boxing’s most star-driven divisions. Gervonta Davis, Teofimo Lopez, Vasiliy Lomachenko, Devin Haney and Ryan Garcia all reside at lightweight.

The easiest matchups to make are with Haney and Garcia, both of whom also compete on DAZN. Haney and Garcia also are available; they each have no fights scheduled. But it’s the Garcia fight in particular that is more appealing for many reasons.

Garcia was actually set to fight Fortuna (36-3-1, 25 KOs) on this night before he withdrew from the bout to seek treatment for his mental health. When he pulled out, Diaz quickly lobbied for the opportunity to step in, looking for redemption after losing his title at the scales in February before settling for a majority draw against Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov.

Now that Garcia is back in training with Eddy Reynoso at Canelo Alvarez’s gym in San Diego, a bout between Diaz and the social media sensation is a natural. They’re both Mexican Americans from Southern California who are promoted by Oscar De La Hoya. Stage the fight this fall in L.A., and they can practically guarantee a windfall at the box office.

“JoJo once again showed a lot of guts, a lot of courage and a big heart,” De La Hoya said. “His first fight at 135 was not too shabby. I think he did a great job against a guy who’s been avoided for years.”

Teofimo Lopez Agrees to Restructured Contract with Top Rank Promotions

Teofimo Lopez has a new contract…

The 23-year-old Honduran American professional boxer and current unified lightweight world champion and Top Rank Promotions are back on good terms after agreeing to a restructured contract, according to ESPN.

Teofimo Lopez

In the new agreement, Lopez will have his minimum purses raised from the previous amount of $1.25 million and will have the opportunity for pay-per-view bouts on ESPN+, a source confirmed.

The deal comes on the heels of an acrimonious negotiation for Lopez’s upcoming title defense against George Kambosos on June 19. Top Rank and Lopez failed to come to an agreement on his salary for that fight, and the bout went to a purse bid. Triller, an upstart streaming service, easily won the rights with a $6 million bid, with Lopez getting around $3.9 million.

Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is making his first title defense since beating Vasiliy Lomachenko last year to win three of the four major belts in the 135-pound division. Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is the IBF‘s mandatory challenger for its version of the title.

Lopez is also looking for a major opponent on October 2 if he successfully defends his titles, sources confirmed to ESPN. Devin Haney (26-0, 15 KOs), the WBC lightweight champion, has repeatedly expressed his desire to face Lopez. In a Twitter post issued Saturday, Top Rank matchmaker Bruce Trampler said Lopez also wants that fight but that Haney has “contractual issues to resolve.”