Teofimo Lopez expects ‘tough fight’ against Steve Claggett

Teofimo Lopez faces Steve Claggett live on ESPN from Miami

Teofimo Lopez says he is fighting a tough opponent in Steve Claggett on June 29 at James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida. Two-division world champion of Brooklyn and the contender of Canada square off in a 12-round bout live on ESPN.

Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs) brings to the ring his WBO junior welterweight belt and makes the second defense of is title. In his first championship defense in February, the Las Vegas-based 26-year-old defeated Jamaine Ortiz by unanimous decision.

The next opponent of Teofimo Lopez, Steve Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs) is riding a nine-fight winning streak, eliminating Marcos Gonzalez Barraza in the second round last time out in January. The Calgary, Alberta’s 35-year-old fights for his first major title.

Teofimo Lopez: People think I’m going to fight a nobody

“This is going to be a tough fight,” Teofimo Lopez said following a recent training session. “A lot of people look at Claggett’s record and think I’m going to fight a nobody, but he hasn’t lost in three years. He has fought former champions. He always comes to fight and throws a lot of punches. I need to be in great condition to battle a fighter like him. I can’t overlook him, get overconfident, and play around with him. I know this fight will be great for all my people in Miami.”

Lopez claimed the WBO junior welterweight title by unanimous decision against Josh Taylor last June. In October 2020, he similarly defeated Vasyl Lomachenko to become a unified lightweight champion.

Isaac Cruz of Mexico is a reigning WBA 140-pound king. San Francisco’s Devin Haney holds the division’s WBC title. Liam Paro of Australia is a newly crowned IBF junior welterweight champion.

“Unlike these other supposed champs at 140, Steve Claggett is the only fighter who raised his hand and stepped up to challenge me. No other fighters were interested in getting in the ring with me. These other fighters want me to help them make a name for themselves.”

“Although people don’t know much about him, Claggett is very tough and always comes to fight. I want to face fighters like that. I don’t want to face fighters who talk a lot and are just trying to become famous, like my last opponent. I hit him in the second round, and then he ran the rest of the fight. That’s not good for boxing.”

“I want to face the top dog in any division I campaign in. Despite the doubters, I have overcome similar skepticism in the past, like before my fights against Josh Taylor and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Throughout my career, I have always sought to compete against the very best. I am always willing to challenge myself.”

“After this fight, if I can get the other junior welterweight champs to get in the ring with me, my primary goal will be to test and push my limits. I want the triple crown.”

In the co-feature on the card, Cuban former world champion Robeisy Ramirez and Brandon Leon Benitez of Mexico square off at featherweight. Among the Lopez vs Claggett undercard bouts, Nico Ali Walsh of Chicago, Illinois and Sona Akale of Minneapolis, Minnesota meet in a rematch at middleweight.

Parviz Iskenderov
Parviz Iskenderov is a former Muay Thai fighter, sports manager and editor at FIGHTMAG.

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