Teofimo Lopez Jr. Defends Title With Gritty Win Over Claggett

By Miriam Onyango

          Teofimo Lopez Jr. (21-1 13 KOs) secured a unanimous decision victory over Steve Claggett, successfully defending his WBO junior welterweight title on Saturday night in Miami.

          Despite expectations for a stoppage victory by Lopez, the resilient Canadian challenger Claggett (38-8 26 KOs), fought through all 12 rounds for the first time in his career. He won only one round on the scorecards, with Lopez landing a career-high 315 punches during the fight.

                            “What a fight. Today wasn’t about skills – it was about will and strength. I knew the type of fighter I was fighting. He’s a triathlon athlete. His conditioning was impeccable. He’s never been 12 rounds before, so we knew we had to break him down. And me with asthma, I’m grateful,” said Lopez in media reports.

                            “I like tough fights. Tough fights bring the best out of me. I don’t care how my face looks. Fuck it. It’s a fight. I’m 26. I’m still learning in this game, and that’s what I like. I don’t care how I look. As long as my hand gets raised at the end of it all. I needed this a lot. [Top Rank founder] Bob [Arum] said I did well. He didn’t look too happy. Fuck it. I’m your only last star available, and that’s it. You just got to deal with it. I am the best. Forget the rest,” added Lopez.

                            Lopez remains undefeated at 140 pounds with a record of 5-0, but he has yet to achieve a stoppage victory in any of his fights in this weight class.

                            The 140-pound division includes notable names such as Devin Haney, Isaac Cruz, Liam Paro, Jose Ramirez, Regis Prograis, Sandor Martin, Dalton Smith, and former undisputed champion Josh Taylor, whom Lopez defeated last year.

                                                      Among this group, along with potential bouts against lightweight Gervonta Davis and welterweight Terence Crawford, Lopez is aiming for his next challenge against WBA titleholder “Pitbull” Cruz.