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Fresh doubt over Lopez-Kambosos showdown

The delayed clash between undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and IBF No.1 contender George Kambosos has been riddled by complications and now there is some doubt it will go ahead at all.

After Lopez suffered a surprise bout with Covid-19 four days before fight night on June 19, the event was pushed back to a new date of August 14. But now streaming app Triller, who won the purse bids for the fight, is planning to move the contest from America to the Bankwest Stadium in Sydney on October 17 to recoup money it lost from the original fight postponement (Covid-19 is not included in event insurance).

Hosting the fight in Kambosos’ home city of Sydney would allow Triller to claw back some lost revenue from the gate at the 30,000 capacity Bankwest Stadium.

But Lopez’s manager David McWater has told Mike Coppinger of ESPN that they aren’t willing to fight in Australia, nor are agreeable to pushing back the fight date. This has heightened the possibility of Lopez relinquishing his IBF title.

“That’s our major objection – to ask a guy to fly international and cut weight for 14 days while in quarantine. It’s not right,” McWater told Coppinger, referencing Australia’s current 14-day quarantine rule. “One guy is at a distinct disadvantage.

“I don’t think we’ll have to give up the title. I think if they want to move [the Kambosos fight] that far back the IBF will rule. But fine, if we have to, we’ll give up the title and he can fight Isaac Cruz somewhere for $70,000. One of these guys is the undisputed lightweight champion of the world. The other is a mandatory contender. I don’t know when they became equals.

“[Lopez] is 100 percent ready to fight on August 14 just like their announcement,” added McWater. “They announced he was fighting August 14 and we’ll be ready for that.”

But Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanagh, whose company paid over $6 million to win the rights to the IBF mandated fight ahead of the champion’s promoter Top Rank and Matchroom Boxing USA, feels that Lopez should be more accommodating.

“George Kambosos and his wife couldn’t have been more professional and understanding through what was obviously a very difficult time,” Kavanaugh told ESPN’s Coppinger. “They had seen Lopez’s social media and expressed concern about his somewhat laissez-faire social activities. Unfortunately, they were right [after Lopez contracted Covid-19].

“No matter who is the ‘known’ fighter, fair is fair. Lopez needs to go to Australia and should be bending over backwards to make this right for Kambosos, for us and for all others who lost out due to their irresponsibility. We have set the fight for October in Australia, which will be an even bigger draw. We have the stadium set and the PPV will be Saturday primetime. We truly hope Lopez and his camp do the right thing.”