IBF strips Lopez vs Kambosos from Triller, Matchroom to take over rights

Teofimo Lopez George Kambosos Jr Lopez vs Kambosos

The IBF on Wednesday ruled that Triller is in default of its Feb. 25 purse bid for the long-delayed fight between unified lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez and IBF mandatory challenger George Kambosos Jr., bringing to an end its involvement in the fight that it won the rights to in shocking fashion.

Now the promotional rights to the bout fall to the under bidder, Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, which has the option to put the fight on under the terms of its purse offer. If Hearn passes, the fight rights will fall to Lopez promoter Top Rank, which would do the fight and has purposely held back one of its December ESPN dates in case it has to put on the fight, according to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

However, Hearn does plan to put the fight on. He posted this to his Twitter account: “Delighted to confirm that Matchroomboxing will be promoting the big Teofimo Lopez v George Kambosos unified match up live on DAZN. Date and venue announced shortly. Let’s get this show on the road.

The fight likely would be in November or December.

Triller doesn’t promote either boxer, but it won the rights to the bout by shocking everyone by blowing away the rest of the bidders with an offer of $6.018 million, a number so enormous that it beat the two other bids combined — an offer of $3.506 million from Matchroom Boxing, which was bidding in conjunction with streaming service DAZN and Kambosos promoter Lou DiBella, and $2.315 million offered by  Top Rank.

Under Triller’s bid, Lopez was entitled to 65 percent of the money ($3,911,700), although he would have had to pay Top Rank 20 percent ($782,340). Kambosos was entitled to 35 percent ($2,106,300) minus a roughly a double-digit cut to DiBella. Both fighters were looking at career-high purses.

Under Hearn’s bid, both fighters would still be looking at career-high purses. Lopez’s purse would be $2,278,900, and Kambosos’ would be $1,227,100.

Last week, the IBF was asked by Kambosos attorney Greg Smith to default Triller for a variety of alleged breaches of the organization’s rules governing purse bids. The IBF took several days to consider it and issued its ruling via a letter emailed from IBF president Daryl Peoples to Triller lawyer Scott Schaffer and copied to others involved, a copy of which was obtained by World Boxing News.

In the letter, Peoples outlined the various dates the fight was scheduled for and then postponed and rescheduled, including from June 19 in Miami, because Lopez came down with Covid-19 a week before the fight.

The fight was eventually rescheduled for Oct. 5 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York and then moved to Oct. 4 at the same venue to avoid a New York Yankees home playoff game. Then Triller boss Ryan Kavanaugh said he wanted to move it again to avoid a “Monday Night Football” game and planned to move it to Oct. 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the rival arena of Madison Square Garden.

Lopez agreed to move the fight and signed a contract amendment. Kambosos, however, declined when Triller first would not sweeten his purse and then when it refused to place his purse in an escrow account. Kambosos was not willing to fly from his home country of Australia to the United States without the guarantee his money was in place.

Triller settled its contract with Madison Square Garden, which kept the $150,000 rent that had already been paid and received a six-figure payout for its trouble, and moved the event to Barclays Center on Oct. 16 to pair it with its popular rap battle music series, but without Lopez-Kambosos.

“The IBF has been consistent in accommodating numerous date changes for this bout contingent upon all parties mutually agreeing to date changes pursuant to Rule 10.F.1,” Peoples wrote in his letter, referring to the rule that states, “The boxing event must be scheduled to take place not less than 28 days and not more than 90 days from the date of the bid award unless a different date is agreed to in writing by the boxers and/or approved by the Championships Committee.”

Peoples went on to write, “The IBF has not received anything indicating that George Kambosos has consented to the new date of October 16, 2021. Mr. Kambosos did not sign the “AMENDMENT TO AGREEMENT.” Apparently, Mr. Kambosos does not agree with postponing the contracted date from October 4, 2021, to October 16, 2021.

“On September 28, 2021, the IBF received a letter from Counsel for George Kambosos indicating that he ‘was ready, willing, and able to box on October 4, 2021.’ The IBF has no authority to mandate that either boxer agrees to date changes.

“The IBF was not formally notified of the proposed date change from October 4, 2021, to October 16, 2021, until we received Mr. Smith’s letter dated September 28, 2021. The IBF was not consulted, and did not approve or consent to this date change. The IBF has not received notification from George Kambosos or his representatives stating that they have agreed to postpone the October 4, 2021, until October 16, 2021.

“Absent Mr. Kambosos’s consent to postpone the bout until October 16, 2021, the IBF relied on the contracts of September 7, 2021, for the bout on October 4, 2021. The IBF has now been informed that the Lopez vs. Kambosos bout has been removed from the October 16 event.”

Eddie Hearn Matchroom Boxing
Matthew Pover

MATCHROOM BOXING

IBF rule 10.F.2 permits Peoples to recognize the next highest bidder, which is  Matchroom Boxing.

“Based on the above, the IBF is declaring Proxima/Triller in default and recognizing the next highest bidder, Matchroom Boxing, which will be allowed to promote the Lopez vs. Kambosos bout,” Peoples wrote.

When Triller won the purse bid, it put up the required 10 percent of the bid amount and later another 10 percent required by the IBF rules. That money — $1,203,600 – will be distributed to Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) and Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) on the same 65-35 basis as the purse bid split.

When Smith requested that the IBF find Triller in default of the purse bid, Triller countered by demanding that the IBF strip Kambosos of his mandatory status, return its deposit, and set a new purse bid date despite having no rules to back it up.

Award-winning writer Dan Rafael is the Lead Boxing Contributor for World Boxing News. Follow Dan on social media @DanRafael1.