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SPORTS SHORTS 18: TEOFIMO LOPEZ WANTS TO REPEAT AS FIGHTER OF THE YEAR IN 2021


PhilBoxing.com




Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12KOs) is carefully planning his fights this year 2021 and he wants to engage in more matches than the previous year. His single bout last year was one big upset which made him an instant star by outpointing former pound-for-pound king Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify the titles at the lightweight division.

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The first fight will most probably be a mandatory title defense versus undefeated challenger George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs). If everything goes according to plan for 2021, he will undergo a series of matches similar to the matches he engaged in 2019 which had Lopez winning four fights, winning over Diego Magdaleno of Los Angeles, Edis Tatli of Kosovo, Masayoshi Nakatani of Japan, and wresting the IBF lightweight title in a 2nd round stoppage of Richard Commey of Ghana.

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“As we all know, anything we can happen. 2020, we were supposed to fight Lomachenko much earlier in the year,” Lopez told Boxing Scene “So, I don’t know want to say what will happen. "But what I plan to do, assuming everything goes smooth—three fights in 2021. I want to repeat as Fighter of the Year. Now it’s about who’s next. Who do we get to beat on this year?”

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The proposed title defense against Kambosos are now under negotiations, and if it pushes through the fight will likely happen in Australia. It will be Lopez’s first fight outside the U.S. since a controversial opening round loss at the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics, where he fought for Honduras. "We expect our first fight to be around April or May,” said Lopez. “After that, then another fight around August or September. Then, ideally, we fight again at the end of the year at Madison Square Garden, following the Heisman Trophy awards.”

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Unified IBF/WBA/WBC/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury are the co-winners of the 2020 Fighter of The Year award by The Ring magazine. According to several sports websites and scribes, Lopez deserves to win the award solo. His win was very convincing and one of the greatest upsets in boxing which is bigger than Fury's 7th round TKO over Deontay Wilder. Based on the quality of opponent Lopez had it hands down.

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Lopez is declared Fighter of the Year solo by Queensberry Rules, Maxboxing, The Sportsman, CBS Sports, The Sweet Science, Boxing Junkie, Boxing News 24/7, 3Kings Boxing, ESPN, and BBC Sport. The Boxing Writers Association has yet to announce their Fighter of the Year 2020.

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World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman thinks the mandatory fight between champion Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and challenger Avni Yildirim will be a good fight contrary to what most analysts regard as a mismatch. "I think Yildirim is much better than people think," Sulaiman said. Last month in Texas, Canelo defeated the previously unbeaten Callum Smith in twelve rounds to win the WBC, WBA super middleweight world titles. Yildirim was the mandatory challenger to the vacant WBC title. Canelo is planning to satisfy the mandatory defense possibly on February 27th in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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“[Canelo] wants to defend against the mandatory contender Avni Yildirim at the beginning of the year. We will contact him soon," Sulaiman added. If the fight turns up to be successful, Canelo aims to fight in May as part of Cinco De Mayo weekend and in September as part of Mexican Independence Day.

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Avni Yildirim, age 29, from Sivas, Turkey challenged for the IBO super-middleweight title in 2017 losing to Chris Eubank, Jr. of Hove, East Sussex, England by 3rd round KO. and in 2019. Yildirim has not fought since February 2019, when he lost a technical decision to Anthony Dirrell, age 36, of Flint, Michigan in a clash for the vacant WBC super-middleweight title.

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LeBron James is averaging 23.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists on 47 percent shooting. The Lakers are plus-17 points per 100 possessions when LeBron's playing minutes, according to Cleaning the Glass, and they're minus-7.8 when he's not on the floor. The Lakers are now 6-2 and tied with Phoenix at top spot of the Western conference, and LeBron, at 36 years old in his 18th season, is still obviously the best player in the world per CBS Sports.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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