the YOUNG STARS out. TEOFIMO LOPEZ JR. returns against george kambosos jr. meanwhile, stephen fulton and brandon figueroa fight to unify titles.
Teofimo Lopez Jr. (16-0, 12 KOs) vs. George Kambosos Jr. (19-0, 10 KOs)
When: Saturday, Nov. 27
Where: Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City
At stake: Lopez’s undisputed championship
Pound-for-pound ranking: Lopez No. 6
Odds: Lopez 7-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Azinga Fuzile vs. Kenichi Ogawa, junior lightweights (for vacant IBF title); Ray Ford vs. Felix Caraballo, featherweights
Prediction: Lopez KO 10
Background: After so many date changes that it was impossible to keep track, Lopez vs. Kambosos is finally here. Lopez, whose bout with COVID-19 resulted in one postponement, will be fighting for the first time since his break through victory over pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko in October of last year to become undisputed lightweight champion in only his 16th fight. He was only 23 at the time. The gifted boxer-puncher got off to a strong start against the strangely inactive Ukrainian champion and then held off a rally to win a clear unanimous decision in Las Vegas. The WBC has designated Lopez its “franchise” champion and elevated Devin Haney to full titleholder, which Boxing Junkie doesn’t recognize. Lopez has suggested that the fight against Kambosos could be his last at 135 pounds. Kambosos is a tough, high-energy fighter from Australia but he can also box, as the 28-year-old demonstrated in split-decision victories over good technicians Mickey Bey and Lee Selby in the last two fights. The Selby fight also took place in October of last year, meaning both men will have been out of the ring for around 13 months. This will be Kambosos’ third fight in the United States.
Brandon Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) vs. Stephen Fulton (19-0, 8 KOs)
When: Saturday, Nov. 27
Where: Park Theater, Las Vegas
Division: Junior featherweight
At stake: Figueroa’s WBC and Fulton’s WBO titles
Pound-for-pound ranking: None
Odds: Fulton 3-1 (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Ra’eese Aleem vs. Eduardo Baez, junior featherweights; Gary Antonio Russell vs. Alejandro Barrios, bantamweights
Prediction: Fulton UD
Background: This is a classic matchup of boxer (Fulton) vs. brawler (Figueroa), although Fulton demonstrated in his dominating unanimous-decision victory over then-titleholder Angelo Leo in January that he’s willing and capable of mixing it up. That victory gave Fulton his first major belt. And there presumably will be more to come. The 27-year-old Philadelphian is one of the most gifted young champions in the sport, although he hasn’t proven that over long period of time. Fulton said he ability to “adjust and outthink” Figueroa will lead him to victory. Figueroa, 24, is a relentless pressure fighter who wears his opponents down with volume punching. That’s what he did in his upset, seventh-round knockout victory over then-unbeaten Luis Nery in May, which earned him his first legitimate title. The Texan is the underdog once again but you can bet that he’s going to make Fulton work hard no matter who has his hand raised.
Also fighting this week:
Junior welterweight contender Ohara Davies (22-2, 16 KOs) of England faces Ismael Barroso (23-3-2, 21 KOs) of Venezuela in a scheduled 12-round bout Friday in Dubai (ESPN+).
Jay Harris (18-2, 9 KOs) of Wales will take on fellow contender Hector Gabriel Flores (18-0-4, 9 KOs) of Mexico in a scheduled 10-round junior flyweight fight Friday in Cardiff, Wales (ESPN+).
Erika Cruz (13-1, 3 KOs) faces fellow Mexican Melissa Ezquivel (12-1-1, 4 KOs) Friday in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (DAZN).