Teofimo Lopez, Top Ranks Rising Star.
By Amanda Armstrong
Photos Amanda Armstrong
While on the road this year to fights, there has been one young fighter who has caught my eye.
I could not ignore the Brooklyn based Teofimo Lopez. My first encounter was at Madison Square Garden for Conlan VS Ibarra. One young boxer was walking around the Theater shaking hands and smiling before weigh ins. He had stopped to have a lengthy chat with Bob Arum, and both were all smiles and laughter. That night Lopez earned him self another KO on his record in a quick flurry of hand speed. It was also after the fight in the hotel lobby where again I saw Teofimo shaking hands with fans, and hanging out with family. Dressed in a sharp suit he signed his banner and took group photos (yes of course this is where I jump in). After the impromptu photo shoot I got to talk with father and trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr. (aka Junior Lopez) and Teofimo himself. Both of them professional and polite, and Senior was one delighted father (rightfully so). That night coming off KO #4!
Teofimo Lopez at only 19 years old is now 5-0, and 5 knock outs. He is one of three newly signed Olympians to Top Ranks stable of fighters. This is how you start a career as a prospect! Teofimo Lopez started boxing at the age of 6, he stepped into the competitive ring at the age of 8. Traveling the country and working 6 days a week got him to 2015 National Golden Gloves. Next stop, Olympics. Teofimo set out to earn himself a spot on the team, more focused than ever. Long work outs, later nights got him the wins he needed in the Olympic Qualifiers. That garnered him the accomplishment of “Outstanding Male Boxer” out of the entire tournament. Unfortunately he was not chosen to represent the USA due to AIBA (Amateur International Boxing Association) politics. This quickly crushing the dreams of Teofimo that he has been moving toward since he was 6 years old.
There’s always a plan B…
Being the son of Honduran parents, and holding a dual citizenship gave Team Lopez a second chance at the young fighters dream. He became the only boxer to represent Honduras in the Olympic Continentals ( also the South American qualifier, in Buenos Aires, Argentina). The dream was now alive but he was going to have to have to apply himself even more so for his passion. They were only going to take the top 3 boxers in his weight division, Teofimo would have to work.
The work paid off, making it to the finals after beating Ecuador, Mexico, and Argentina ( the host country). But Teofimo was about to experience another upset by loosing via decision against Venezuela. Many
had believed Teofimo had won and the boo’s were audible. Lopez still performed a backflip in the ring once he lost the decision.
“They didn’t want me to win,” Lopez said. “They came here to see me lose. I’m not Honduran. They called me ‘gringo.’ It’s like a slap in my face.”
Father Teofimo Lopez Sr.;
“I was expecting it,” he said. “They took it from him after he won the Olympic trials too. If we had represented the USA we would probably have had a better chance of winning.
“He won the fight. But I told him from the beginning, you got to kill this guy, otherwise you are not going
Teofimo Lopez stayed positive leaving with the Silver and became the only Olympian boxer in all of
Back to the Garden in the “Big Room”
Teofimo Lopez VS Ronald Rivas on the Crawford/Diaz under card.
Looking for KO #5 came quickly for Lopez in round 2 of 6, time: 2:21. But it was HOW it was done. It was
in devastating left hook fashion where the final blow came from. Lopez stuck his entire body into that pivot and unload his left hook. Easily taking the head off, leaving Rivas on the canvas wondering where he was.
A quick chat with Lopez Sr.
I had a quick touch base with Teofimo’s father and trainer ‘Junior’ Lopez the other day. To ask about preparations for the next fight, and when will I see them in Las Vegas:
“Well we been doing this for 14 years we always ready we never stop working he might rest a couple days but we go back to the gym right away he is used to it right now we just working power and speed. Remember he is only 19 years old and hasn’t developed yet he is getting much much stronger every month. We really don’t know but I think we will be fighting in Vegas soon I hope.”
Teofimo Lopez is scheduled to meet with Christian Santibanez (5-6) in Tampa, Florida on July 7th 2017.