The never-ending saga to find a new date and location for Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos marches on.
Triller co-founder Ryan Kavanaugh told ESPN on Saturday he is planning to stage the rescheduled undisputed lightweight championship fight in October in the Middle East.
“We are currently working with the regulatory bodies to bring this fight to Saudi [Arabia] or UAE [United Arab Emirates] in October,” Kavanaugh said. “We think it’s the perfect place for such a landmark fight.”
Triller hoped to stage the fight on Oct. 17 in Sydney, but Lopez balked at the 14-day quarantine mandated by the Australian government. The disagreement led to an IBF ruling, handed down Monday, that Triller must stage the fight in a location that doesn’t require a quarantine.
The New Jersey-based sanctioning body also gave Triller until Oct. 17 to hold the fight; contracts are due by Aug. 24.
“Can’t wait to see the details,” Lopez’s manager, David McWater, told ESPN when informed of Triller’s Middle East plan. “We were always willing to go anywhere we didn’t have to quarantine.”
In the event Triller fails to submit contracts by Aug. 24, the rights to the fight will revert to the next-highest bidder at February’s auction. That would be Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, which bid $3.506 million. Lopez’s promoter, Top Rank, came in third at $2.315 million. Triller won the rights with a bid of $6.018 million.
The matchup was initially set for June 19 in Miami, where Lopez grew up, but he tested positive for COVID-19 weeks before the fight.
“He feels great,” McWater said. “He’s been training.”
Lopez, ESPN’s No. 5 pound-for-pound boxer, unified all four 135-pound titles with a majority decision victory over Vasiliy Lomachenko in October. The 24-year-old was ordered by the IBF to face Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) next, but Lopez and Top Rank couldn’t agree on money. That led to the auction, where Triller gobbled up the rights.
Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) is set to earn a career-high $3.912 million; he made $1.35 million for the Lomachenko bout.
Kambosos, ESPN’s No. 9 lightweight, will earn $2.106 million, also a career high. The 28-year-old Australian fighter became the IBF’s No. 1 contender with a split decision win over Lee Selby in October.
Earlier that month, Lopez added three more titles to his collection with his win over Lomachenko. He won his first title with a second-round KO of Richard Commey in December 2019.
Now, Lopez appears to be inching closer to the first defense of his undisputed lightweight crown.