Brooklyn’s Lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez Jr. isn’t feeling his new streaming partner Triller.
The champ, who faces mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr., is placing pressure on the IBF to rule regarding his upcoming title defense, pushed back to October. The fight location has also changed to Australia.
Can’t wait to see @TeofimoLopez back in the ring 🥊 #TheTakeover pic.twitter.com/EvO9j1GoZc
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) July 16, 2021
These factors prompted Lopez and his legal team to take action.
“We are in receipt of a request to allow postponement of the bout resulting from a purse [bid] held on February 25, 2021,” Lopez’s attorney Patrick English, wrote to the IBF in an official letter on July 12, according to Boxing Scene.
“The request is to permit a postponement until October 14, 2021. We strongly object on behalf of Mr. Lopez to the request, which not only violates the IBF rules but which is impractical.
“This request comes on the top of an initial rules violation and then a contract violation by Proxima [Event Productions], which is a subsidiary of Triller.”
Originally scheduled to fight on June 5 at loanDepot Park in Miami, Florida, Lopez (16-0, 12KOs) vs. Kambosos (19-0, 10KOs) was the fight to legitimize Triller Fight Club’s boxing offerings.
In the last 9 months, @TeofimoLopez & @JoshTaylorBoxer became the 5th and 6th men in the 4-belt era to wear all the gold at once.
Tonight, a 7th man joins the club.
So we ask: 𝐖𝐡𝐨 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝟖𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐝𝐨 𝐢𝐭? pic.twitter.com/YMEOWH9jlJ
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 17, 2021
The company won a February 25 purse bid hearing after submitting a $6,018,000 bid, eclipsing Lopez’s promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, and Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.
Initially, the purse bid required the fight to occur within 90 days, and it was confirmed for June 5, which Lopez would make $3,911,700, a career-high payday.
In addition, the contract for a June 5 event was supposed to have an exhibition bout between Hall of Fame former Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield and Tyson’s last professional opponent, Kevin McBride.
What’s taking so long rescheduling Teofimo Lopez Vs George Kambosos if Teo tested “negative” now? #EGO
— BOXINGEGO (@Boxingego) July 17, 2021
However, the Holyfield-McBride talks fell apart, and Triller then announced the bout on June 19. Lopez claims he received no contract for that date and was moving in good faith.
Then Lopez tested positive for COVID-19, further pushing the date back to August 14 at a location to be determined.
Lopez’s preference was to remain on the August 14 date and not wait until October or travel to Australia. He will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon entering the country.
Teofimo Lopez let Triller stall his career pic.twitter.com/idVGZWNnn4
— D A L L A S (@JRueCity) July 24, 2021
“Mr. Lopez was cleared of Covid on June 29, and all parties were so informed. Triller told the parties as well as making public announcements that the bout was scheduled for August 14. This allowed 45 days for Mr. Lopez to train, more than enough. However, despite numerous public announcements, no contract was given to Mr. Lopez for the new date despite repeated requests from his management. Mr. Lopez was prepared to go forward on August 14.
“Now Triller requests of the IBF permission to have the bout in Australia on October 14. That letter references the earlier proposed date of June 19 but completely ignores the fact that the sole contract ever executed was for June 5, prior to Mr. Lopez coming down with Covid. As a flimsy explanation Triller states that Mr. Kambosos returned to Australia. It does not explain why, after Mr. Lopez was cleared, Mr. Kambosos could not get on a plane and return to the United States, or why he could not do so now.”