At the young age of 23, Teofimo Lopez has already taken the boxing world by storm but he has a lot more he is determined to accomplish both inside and outside of the ring. From his own tequila brand, to a highly anticipated Triller fight, to other entrepreneurial ventures, The Takeover, as he is dubbed, is ready to, well, take over.
With only 16 fights under his belt, Lopez made a name for himself by becoming the only undisputed lightweight champion in boxing history. There have been many legendary lightweights in the sport such as Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez and Manny Pacquiao to name a few, none of which have been able to unify the division and hold all four major belts in this weight class. If that isn’t impressive enough, the young champion is already venturing into the entrepreneurial realm to ensure that even after he leaves the boxing world he still continues his legacy.
The undisputed champion sat down with host Brian Calle and special guest host Adrian Contreras and producer Bryan Escalante to give the L.A. Weekly podcast listeners an in-depth look at how he is conquering the boxing world and what he plans next.
What is his secret sauce? “Be like water and adapt,” Lopez says.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lopez learned the true meaning of hard work and sacrifice early on. Raised by two Hondourian immigrants, Lopez witnessed first hand what it meant to give it your all for a better life. It was at the age of six when Teofimo Sr. first laced his son’s gloves and began to train him. His father had already been training at the gym and had Teo join him as soon as the boy was of age.
“My father believed in me before anyone else did and made me a believer too,” says Lopez.
Lopez’s father/trainer is known in the boxing world as loud and outspoken, while Lopez carries himself with a swagger of modesty and humility. He doesn’t mind his dad talking him up though.
“My father’s always had that fire and it’s never gone dim so I try my best to match that energy,” says Teo. His father talks, but Lopez backs it up in the ring.
It hasn’t been an easy road for the champ though. He struggled with asthma his entire life and has found himself in the ICU three times because of it. He even once had a serious asthma attack during a fight that later landed him in the hospital. “I remember fighting as an amateur and having an asthma attack inside the ring,” he says. “I remember inhalers being thrown inside the ring from all angles. Everyone in the crowd who had seen me have my attack threw their inhalers to try and help.”
He credits his mental strength for helping him overcome any adversity along the way. “It’s always been mind over matter as far as the way I see obstacles to overcome,” Lopez shares. And his July 14, 2018 fight with William Silva is illustrative of his point. Lopez broke his hand in the very first round of the bout. He kept fighting through it and won the fight in the sixth round by way of TKO (technical knockout). Most people would have stopped the fight, but not Lopez. He keeps going because he believes there is more at stake for him than just the fighting.
“There is a bigger purpose behind this and I know boxing is just a platform given to me to really show my life purpose,” he said. “In order to achieve your goals you have to not only see it, but have the emotions as if you already have it.”
And that is his mentality going into each fight. In his last fight, he was a bigtime underdog going up against the top-ranked Vasyl Lomanchenko. Virtually every boxing expert and analyst believed Lomanchenko would be too much for the young fighter. They all assumed Loma’s Olympic pedigree and experience would overwhelm him. Yet Lopez overcame the odds and beat him. This was the fight that shot him to superstardom.
Outside of the ring, Lopez is focused on how he can grow and do more. He recently partnered with One With Life Organic Tequila along with fellow boxers Ray Mancini and Larry Holmes. It’s a passion project for the boxer and just one of the many he has in the works.
Teofimo’s next fight will take place on June 5th in Miami, Florida against George Kambosas. The fight will be broadcasted on PPV presented by Triller. Insiders expect this to be the fight of the year.
What’s next? Even with his numerous accolades, he is nowhere near stopping anytime soon. “Too much success isn’t enough success,” he told us. “There will always be more to take over.”
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