George Kambosos: Five potential opponents after shock Lopez victory

George Kambosos shocked the world on Saturday night by defeating Teofimo Lopez to become the undisputed lightweight champion of the world.

In recent times, Australian fighters have produced some of the biggest upsets in boxing history. Jeff Horn famously emerged victorious against sporting legend Manny Pacquiao in a hard-fought battle in Brisbane in 2017.

And who could forget Lucas Browne’s incredible trip to Chechneya, in which he rose from the canvas to dethrone heavyweight king Ruslan Chagaev?

YouTube video

Those upsets were incredible, but they fall by the wayside in comparison to what Kambosos achieved on Saturday night. His American foe wasn’t a former great, he was a current superstar coming off a win against the legendary Vasyl Lomachenko.

On paper, his Australian opponent didn’t have a chance. Most pundits expected the underdog to crumble as soon as the favourite started to pick up the pace.

But the Sydney native didn’t read the script.

What happened in the fight?

Kambosos spent the entirety of the opening segment biding his time on the back foot, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. As the first round was nearing its conclusion, he timed a massive overhand-right to perfection, stunning his foe.

The shot sent Lopez tumbling towards the canvas and set a precedent for the rest of the contest. In a monumental upset, the 28-year-old out-fought, out-skilled, and even picked himself up from the floor to defeat the 1/8 favourite via split decision.

Kambosos’ fantastic display of heart and courage has got boxing fans excited for the next chapter of his incredible story.

Once an overweight child, he dedicated himself to boxing and overcame all the odds to win every belt in his weight division. But he can’t rest on his laurels now. There are other contenders who are desperate to make their claim to the lightweight throne.

We’ve picked five opponents who could be the next for the new Undisputed King.

Devin Haney

Devin Haney holding his belt.

Boxing is one of the world’s oldest sports, so you’d expect it to be simple to understand. But this certainly isn’t the case.

The ‘Sweet Science’ is over-saturated in governing bodies and confusing world title belts, making it difficult for new fans to grasp what’s going on.

To put it simply, George Kambosos is the undisputed world champion. However, recently, the WBC decided to introduce a secondary championship belt, which was given to Haney.

The American didn’t win his title in the ring. Instead, the controversial sanctioning body sent him his title via email. According to the WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, Kambosos and Haney are both world champions. However, most fans ignore the inferior title belt and hail the Australian as the top man in the division.

But this doesn’t mean a fight between the pair wouldn’t be interesting. The American collides with former world champion JoJo Diaz on Saturday, December 3. If he emerges victorious, then a contest between the two champions makes sense.

The four-belt king told Boxing Social that he welcomes a contest with Haney. But if the 23-year-old wants the fight, he’ll have to bow down to the Australian’s demands.

Kambosos said: “Haney has got a job to do this week.

“But following that, I think we can sit down, make it work and take it to Australia. I’m here to fight the best of the best. Lopez was the best. He took out the king in Lomachenko, so where does that put me in the pound-for-pound list? We’ll go back home and take a big fight to Australia with 80,000 fans.”

Vasyl Lomachenko

Lomachenko with his arm raised.

The Ukrainian wizard has almost become the forgotten man in the lightweight division. Following his loss to Lopez last October, and with the emergence of all the new rising stars in his division, the former three-weight world champion appears to be on the outskirts of the big fight talk.

However, last June, Lomachenko returned to winning ways against Nakatani Masayoshi in a vintage performance.

The two-time Olympic Gold Medalist looked back to his best in a showing that highlighted his versatile punch selection and mesmeric footwork.

He’s now moved on to his next opponent, Richard Commey, and if he can secure the victory, then he’s right back in the title picture.

The Ukrainian is desperate to reclaim his championship belts. If his career to date is anything to go by, he wouldn’t mind travelling to Australia to get them back.

Gervonta Davis

Gervonta Davis in his fight with Nunez.

‘Tank’ is arguably the most controversial star in all of boxing. The Baltimore man has had a plethora of legal issues outside of the ring that have damaged his reputation.

Davis was arrested last year on a charge of simple battery/domestic violence against his former girlfriend. Footage emerged of the American grabbing her shirt at the University of Miami’s Watsco Centre. He had his right hand close to her throat as he dragged her to a separate room.

However, this isn’t the only incident that the boxer has been involved in. On March 22, he was indicted on fourteen counts for allegedly running a red light following a birthday party in his home state.

His Lamborghini SUV crashed into another car, resulting in the vehicle’s four occupants having to go to the hospital. He allegedly fled the scene in a Camaro that arrived minutes later. Davis will head to trial in March 2022, and if convicted, could face seven years in prison.

These incidents haven’t reflected well on the fighter’s public persona, but his boxing career hasn’t been affected. He battles Issac Cruz on December 5, but this isn’t the fight boxing fans want to see.

In December 2019, Davis defeated Yuriokis Gamboa for the WBA Regular world title, but fans doubted whether the American would be big enough to compete with the division’s elite.

However, with a smaller fighter in Kambosos now the champion, the power puncher may fancy his chances at becoming an undisputed great.

Although his personal life has had its controversies, his ability in the ring has never been in doubt. The 27-year-old has a great boxing IQ and may possess greater punching power than anyone else in this division. His persona alone would be enough to sell the fight to sports fans from around the globe.

Ryan Garcia

Ryan Garcia celebrating with Canelo.

In January, ‘The Flash KingRy” proved that he’s more than just an ‘Instagram fighter’ against Luke Campbell. Garcia had to dig deep to rise from the canvas to secure the victory via a seventh-round body shot.

He may not have won a world title yet, but that hasn’t stopped the Mexican-American from becoming one of boxing’s biggest stars. His outspoken nature and appearances on podcasts like ‘Impaulsive’ have generated the star a massive 8.7 million Instagram followers.

Earlier this year, Garcia announced that he had to take a break from the sport as he was struggling to deal with mental health issues.

But following the Aussie’s victory at the weekend, Garcia has tweeted that he’s willing to step back in the squared circle for what would be an absolute mega-fight.

He said: “My return fight, I’ll fight Kambosos.”

Josh Taylor

Josh Taylor with his four belts.

The Australian looks likely to defend his lightweight titles in Sydney at some point in 2022. But if he fancied a new challenge, then there’s one viable option who would be happy to oblige.

Taylor owns every single belt in the super-lightweight division and is running out of opponents.

If Kambosos would be willing to move up to a new weight class, then a match between two undisputed world champions would make history.

The Scot is an excellent inside fighter whose style would clash nicely with the Australian star.

The press conferences would also be an exhilarating watch for fight fans, as neither man is lacking in the trash-talking department.

Read: Amir Khan vs Kell Brook: What we know so far.

Who is the most likely option for George Kambosos?

Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn told IFL TV that he wants to take the champion back to his home country to fight Haney.

He said: “I’d love to work with George and take him to Australia. That’s the dream. They come from Australia and beat Teofimo Lopez to win all the belts. It’s unbelievable.”

With the American holding a belt, this looks like the most probable option. However, the Aussie isn’t tied to any particular promoter. Therefore, he is in a situation where he can name his price for the highest bidder.

Irrespective of who Kambosos fights next, he’s in a comfortable position at the bargaining table.