Teofimo Lopez is set to announce his next opponent, set for February 2024.
Lopez defeated the long-reigning poster boy of the 140lbs scene, Josh Taylor, back in April to claim the WBO strap, before a brief ‘retirement’ led to expectations of the belt becoming vacant.
However, the Brooklyn native made the decision to continue in the sport and was subsequently made ‘Super’ Champion by the sanctioning body, allowing leeway with mandatory challengers amongst other perks.
In recent weeks, Lopez’ name was mentioned alongside Ryan Garcia’s for a clash on the weekend of February 9 in Las Vegas, ahead of Super Bowl LVIII. Fans would also like to see him unify the belts against the WBC’s Devin Haney or WBA’s Rolando ‘Rolly’ Romero.
ESPN reports that Lopez will instead fight on the Thursday night, February 8, and take on Jamaine Ortiz, who caused issues for Vasily Lomachenko when they faced off last October but ultimately lost via decision.
The champion later seemed to confirm the reports with a social media post that ended with him watching tape of Ortiz.
The two fighters met in the 2015 National Golden Gloves Quarter-Finals during their amateur days, where Lopez walked away with the victory but, as is often stated, the professional ranks is a completely different ball game.
The likely venue for the clash is at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena, which recently hosted David Benavidez’ demolition of Demetrius Andrade.