We have a new light king. At just 23, Teofimo Lopez became the undisputed lightweight champion of the world by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko in a tense 12 rounds inside the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Lopez becomes the youngest fighter to become a four-belt champion since the WBO was formed in 1988.
After a strong start, Lopez overcame a late rally from Lomachenko to win by scores of 116-112, 119-109 and 117-111.
The bout was dominated early on by Lopez’s boxing, who controlled the center of the ring using his educated left hand, and then hit Lomachenko with well-placed body shots that knocked the smaller boxer back.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) built a big lead on the scoreboards by managing to neutralize the graceful movements of Lomachenko (14-2, 10) behind this jab. For most of the first half of the fight, Lomachenko just moved around the ring and did very little offensively. It was clear that Lopez’s technical acumen and poise were vastly underestimated. For long periods of the fight, he was actually sending out the master boxer.
Yet Lomachenko did not give up without a fight. As the fight entered the final stages, Lomachenko, feeling he was behind, started to build up the pressure and began to close the gap on Lopez. He hit him with quick, laser-like left hands that slowed Lopez’s momentum. To his credit, Lomachenko organized a late rally in the championship heats.
“I think in the first half of the fight he got more rounds than me, but in the second half of the fight I took over,” Lomachenko said. “I was much better. ”
But if a late statement was needed by Lopez, it was made in the 12th and final round. Although Lopez’s father said he won the fight as the last round entered, Lopez kept the pressure on and moved his hand, winning several powerful shots that stopped Lomachenko in his tracks. Only a clash of heads that resulted in a gash on Lopez’s left eye stemmed the tide.
“I’m a fighter,” Lopez said after the 12th round bout. “I have to dig deep. I knew he was coming. I wasn’t sure if they had it on the scoreboards or not, and I love to fight. I can hit too. I don’t care, man. I’ll take one to give one. That’s what a true champion does. I find a way to win. ”
This round was a belated exclamation of what was a remarkable performance from a young man who fulfilled the fate of his outspoken father, who prophesied that not only would his son win a world title in his 15th fight, but he would knock down a boxer. which many consider the best of the sport by its 16th.