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2022 is looking bright for the stacked lightweight division

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This was supposed to be all about Teofimo Lopez and what’s next for the young American who took Vasyl Lomachenko down. But, surprisingly enough, it’s going to be about George Kambosos Jr. as Lopez failed to defend his titles at the first time of asking.

The Australian shocked the boxing world on Saturday night, surviving 10 rounds to win the WBA, IBF, WBO lightweight title, plus the Ring Magazine championship. He doesn’t owe Lopez a rematch as there was no clause promising such and can do what he wants as he isn’t contracted to any broadcaster, though they will all be after him now. 

Kambosos finally got his match after being mishandled by promoters, dodged by Lopez, and getting booked for eight different dates at five different venues. 

It’s going to be an interesting time for boxing’s lightweight division and the questions on everyone’s mind circle around what’s next for Kambosos.

While he does not have to hand Lopez a rematch, it’s an option – and a good one too. He actually seemed to suggest having one in Australia before ‘The Takeover’ interrupted his victory speech to hurl accusations of robbery.

“I don’t care what anybody says, I won tonight,” the 24-year-old declared. “At the end of the day, I’ve been here, I’ve done it. Look, I’m not a sore loser; I take my wins like I take my losses. At the end of the day, I’m a true champion. I came out here, I did what I had to do and I went out there and I did my best. … This is the takeover: we don’t stop, we keep coming.”

The money would have to be right for this to work, though. But more importantly, Kambosos holds the entire deck here and could opt to be petty. No one gave him a shot at winning, with fans and pundits alike implying a Lopez victory was a foregone conclusion. 

Lopez did not treat him any better. The American was the one who pulled out of the fight in June – Kambosos was ready, Teofimo refused to fight in Australia. The champion must have taken offense to that and, even in victory, had his moment of celebration interrupted by Lopez. He might have a long think over the many reasons he should not offer a rematch when he has some time to think about it. 

Lopez’s weight is also an issue; he would have to remain at 135 Lbs, which doesn’t seem like it would work for him after this loss. As to whether he will be comfortable with Kambosos making the pertinent decisions, such as the fight venue.

Simply put, the Australian is going to be spoilt for choice and fighting Teofimo again is unlikely to be a priority for him.

The winner of Devin Haney vs. Joseph Diaz seems like it makes the most sense. The match, set for next Saturday, has garnered lots of attention and both athletes must have been glued to Saturday’s bout. 

Haney, who will be defending the WBC lightweight title, is favored to win at 1/7 and has commanded most of the betting, with 78 percent of folks taking up his odds with the biggest online bookmakers. Diaz is 4/1 and there are 16/1 odds going on a draw. 

There are plenty of avenues for betting on boxing matches via mobile devices and, where Apple users are concerned, this iOS betting app is certainly worth checking out.

KAMBOSOS

As mentioned above, Kambosos isn’t tied to any broadcaster. Haney, however, is a Matchroom and DAZN fighter while Diaz is a Golden Boy fighter who also represents DAZN. Kambosos has worked a few times with Matchroom and DAZN. 

The deal between Golden Boy and DAZN expires soon so it will be interesting to see what they do, but a match between Kambosos and the winner of Haney vs. Diaz should be easy enough to get as long as the parties are a go.

Gervonta Davis is also a possibility. While he is expected to beat Isaac Cruz, nothing is certain; plus boxing has been filled with upsets lately. Ryan Garcia presents another option and, though Vasyl Lomachenko would be a stretch, the Ukrainian would be keen to go up against Kambosos and is unlikely to still have his eyes on Lopez following his loss.

“There are a lot of potential paths and frankly, there are 130-pounders looking up at him, there are 135-pounders looking sideways at him and 140-pounders looking down on him,” Kambosos’ promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN. “He has a whole continent of Australia where he is now the man. He’s now the No. 1 athlete in Australia. He’s going to have a lot of alternatives.”

“I think he’s going to sit back, take a little time off and enjoy the victory,” DiBella added. “Then we’re going to figure out the biggest fight we can make.”