Teofimo Lopez to face top five Finnish contender, Edis Tatli
The boxing world has been waiting in anticipation to find out who super prospect Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10KO) will be fighting next. Well the answer is here. Industry sources have confirmed that Lopez has agreed to terms for a fight with former title challenger Edis Tatli (31-2, 10KO).
The two lightweights are on schedule to clash on the under-card of the Terence Crawford vs Amir Khan PPV April 20.
While this may not be the big name opponent some wanted for the charismatic up and comer, Tatli is a quality operator. He has only lost twice in a 33-fight career and both hotly contested bouts could’ve gone either way.
His first loss was by majority decision in an unsuccessful WBA title opportunity against Richar Abril in 2014. The Finnish fighter’s second defeat came at the hands of Francisco Patera via split decision.
He avenged that loss 7 months later to regain his European lightweight crown.
Coming off sensational back-to-back knockouts over seasoned veterans, many have pegged Lopez as the sport’s next big star and for good reason; he checks all the boxes.
His destruction of former title challenger Diego Magdaleno last month has many wanting to see him against boxing’s very best. With that said, fans must remember he is only 21 with 12 pro fights under his belt.
Guys like Magdaleno and Tatli are well beyond the level of opponent most prospects see at this point in their career. However, with boxing’s ever changing landscape and the increasing popularity of the “fast tracked” superstar, guys are taking on taller tasks much quicker.
In fact, this bout holds pivotal meaning in terms of title challenger status.
Current Sanctioning Body Standings
Both fighters find themselves in favorable rankings with the various sanctioning bodies. Tatli ranks #3 with the IBF. Lopez finds himself at #9 in those rankings.
For the WBC, who’s lightweight title may soon be vacant, Lopez comes in at #5 while Tatli is at #10.
Regarding the WBO title held by Vasiliy Lomachenko, Tatli is #3 while Lopez is #5. This makes this a very important match-up for three of the four major sanctioning bodies and the winner finds themselves in a very favorable position.
Therefore, if the idea of one of the sport’s “must-see” talents against a proven veteran isn’t enough to tune in, this bout very well could determine who finds themselves as the mandatory challenger to IBF champion, Richard Commey, WBA/WBO unified champion Lomachenko, or the WBC title that is currently held by Mikey Garcia.
Needless to say, if you’re a fan of the sport, you won’t want to miss this one.
By: Tanner Gill