New unified lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. has revealed that he intentionally drew Teofimo Lopez into an emotional fight en route to a thrilling world title victory.
Australia’s Kambosos claimed a stunning split-decision victory on Saturday against the favorite Lopez in New York.
Lopez flew blocks in the first round, looking to keep his promise to give Kambosos a knockout loss, but it was the Australian who landed a fight reversal in the first frame.
LOPEZ-KAMBOSOS: the boxing world reacts to a stunning result
Speaking on Sunday, Kambosos said the adversarial actions he and his team employed in the preparation were all part of the plan.
“We knew he was going to come out shooting and it was a lot of psychological games, to piss him off, to make him angry and I knew he was going to go crazy and I stayed calm, I stayed calm, I took his punches, I took a couple, but I knew the power wasn’t going to faze me, ”Kambosos told Matchroom.
“I knew he made that mistake when he came in a little too heavy and I lined him up with a nice right hand and grabbed him clean, put him down and the fight changed.”
After winning the first round, Kambosos seemed to have the advantage early and mid-fight, but Lopez rallied to make it a contest before landing his own knockdown in the 10th round.
Lopez swarmed in an attempt to end the fight but Kambosos got to the bell, before coming out strong in the final two laps to seal the victory.
“It was more of a knockout,” Kambosos said of the timing of the 10th round.
MORE: Lopez-Kambosos scholarship, salaries
“I think I was a little too excited with the crowd and felt I was about to run over him and really put him on the edge of the sword. It’s also a good d curve. learning I got a little emotional at this point.
“I think when he knocked me down in the 10th and tried to finish me off and I got up and I was still throwing punches and still there, I think it destroyed him psychologically.
“He thought, ‘This guy is not going. What is he made of?’ I knew it would have deflated him, so I got out and lap 11 was probably my best lap and lap 12 closed the show. “
The fight improved Kambosos’ record to 20-0, while Lopez (16-1) tasted defeat for the first time in his career.
In the ring immediately after the decision, Lopez said he felt he had won the fight 10 rounds to two.
“I don’t need to answer that, it’s delusional,” Kambosos said.
“He’ll think about it and think ‘I was wrong there’ because he lost a lot of fans because of it.”
MORE: Lopez Booed By NYC Crowd After Saying He Won
As for Australia’s first unified champion’s next stop since Kostya Tszyu, Kambosos plans to take part in the Devin Haney-JoJo Diaz fight in Las Vegas next week ahead of a possible undisputed home fight next year.
“One hundred percent, but it must be in Australia,” he said.
“I took the difficult road, I was in the trenches overseas, I have it all now. If they want a chance, they have to come see me.”