Teofimo Lopez Dominates Josh Taylor To Become A Two-Division Champion

Teofimo Lopez stunned Josh Taylor to claim the WBO super-lightweight title via a unanimous decision and become a two-division champion.

Lopez put on a masterful performance as he dispelled any fears over his mentality leading up to the fight. Much had been said over Lopez’s controversial remarks in which he vowed to ‘kill’ Taylor in the ring.

But that bad blood laid the foundations for a feisty encounter. The first round saw both fighters circling and testing each other out with sharp jabs.

Taylor put Lopez on the ropes with a combo as a cut opened up on Lopez’s nose in the early rounds. In response, Lopez came out strong as he replied with solid combonations, as Taylor countered to the body.

The Scot began to use his experience, leaning on Lopez and punching him late in the clinch, as Lopez was visibly frustrated.

Further pressure from Taylor followed, and Lopez slipped to the floor as the Scot had the early advantage.

The fifth round was a back-and-forth affair, as Taylor’s punches were being countered by Lopez. Taylor continued to press forward, but Lopez was able to stay out of range and land solid right hands.

Lopez continued to judge the distance and began to pick Taylor apart. Taylor tried to work on the inside but was countered on the way in as he began to lunge forward.

The American asserted his dominance in the second half of the fight with the lead right hand, as the cut above his left eye and nose didn’t faze him.

Taylor began to rush his shots and switched stances, but Lopez’s hand speed made him pay on numerous occasions.

As the championship rounds emerged, Taylor was warned for hitting Lopez to the body as he crouched down, becoming desperate to claw himself back.

In an attempt to land on Lopez, Taylor began to swing in the last round only to be countered, as the American completed a comprehensive victory which was reflected in the scorecards: 115-113, 115-113 and 117-111.

Victory for Lopez puts him in line for a unification bout with Rolando Romero, Regis Prograis or Subriel Matias. Defeat for Taylor leaves serious question marks over his future as a move up to 147 may not be certain.

Reaction

“We just beat the No. 1-ranked guy, No. 1-ranked champion, lineal world champion Josh Taylor. I do want to say one thing. I think I let my emotions get the best of me.

“I did not want to take your life. I want you to go back to your family, my man, and I apologize as a man. Josh Taylor is a tough dude, man, and I can see why he beat so many fighters.

“But you gotta counter the counter-puncher, you gotta outsmart the man and get in there, and I did that. I questioned myself (after the last fight) for a good reason.

“You guys don’t understand, I’ve always been my worst critic, and you guys got a little glimpse of it. But I’ve gotta ask you one thing and one thing only: Do I still got it,” Lopez

 

“Listen, no excuses, it wasn’t my best. The better man won on the night. I competed to the best of my ability. Felt amazing in the gym, felt brilliant. No excuses.

“He was better on the night tonight. It is what it is. Congratulations to Teofimo. I thought it was a close fight, but that 117-111 was way too (wide), I’d love to do it again.

“I definitely know I’m better than that and know I can beat him, so yeah, I would love to do it again, but he’s the champ, the ball’s in his court.

“The layoff had nothing to do with it. I’ve got no excuses. He was better on the night. I’ll probably most likely be moving up to welter now, but he was the better man on the night, no excuses,” Taylor

 

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