When video social networking site Triller won a wallet bid to host Teófimó Lopez’s combined lightweight showdown against Australian George Kambosos Junior in February, it was hailed as a victory for both boxers.
What has followed, however, has been anything but.
With promises of a career-high payday for both men, the battle between two undefeated stars has been the subject of several delays.
The boxing governing body IBF has finally put their foot down and declared that Triller had breached the terms of their wallet.
This means that the competition will now be promoted by Eddie Hearns Matchroom Sports, the second highest bidder.
So what went wrong?
López (16-0) became one of the hottest properties in boxing when, in October 2020, he outclassed overall WBA and WBO lightweight champion and pound-for-pound star Vasyl Lomachenko.
López won by unanimous decision in a boilover show, catapulting him into the consciousness of the boxing world as the holder of the WBA (super), IBF and WBO world championship belts.
Meanwhile, George Kambosos Jr (19-0) scored his own sour victory over former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby by a split decision in London, making him a mandatory challenger to López’s IBF belt.
López was obliged to face Kambosos as a mandatory challenger, or else have his IBF title removed.
López accepted the Kambosos match, but then agreed with his promoters, Top Rank, on the amount they were willing to pay for him to fight.
As a result, he took the fight to the market, where other advertising companies offered to put the fight on, a bid won by Triller for an astronomical sum of just over $ 6 million. over $ US2 million and Matchrooms $ US3 million, out of the water.
What is Triller?
Triller is a new player on the fight scene – and does not come from a boxing background.
Led by businessman Ryan Kavanaugh, Triller is a music video app where people can select a song and then video themselves singing or rapping along to it.
To diversify, Triller did not so much dip his toes in boxing promotion as to throw himself completely into the deep end by staging Mike Tyson’s boxing show against Roy Jones Junior in November.
It was far from a traditional boxing show, with an undercard featuring Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson, a series of live music appearances and had Snoop Dogg as the color commentator.
It received positive reviews, around 30 million pay-per-view purchases and led to Triller forming the Triller Fight Club to do more in the future.
López vs Kambosos was to become the first World Cup match and was to take place as a co-main event for an exhibition between Kevin McBride vs Evander Holyfield in Miami on June 5th.
What went wrong?
The match was originally set for June 5 at Miami Marlins Stadium, but was delayed to allow for a full attendance as corona restrictions were eased in Florida.
On the 11th hour, however, López withdrew after receiving COVID-19.
The entire map was moved to August 14, but due to a clash with a Major League Baseball match, a new venue was needed, which placed the match in limbo.
Triller was desperate to find a place and even thought briefly about staging the match in Australia, but the IBF stopped those plans after López complained about Australia’s quarantine requirements.
It was then put to Madison Square Garden on Sunday, October 4, which was almost immediately moved to Monday, October 5, due to the prospect of a clash with a Yankees-Red Sox playoff game.
The problem was that it then collided with the NFL’s Monday Night Football, a traditionally high rating winner.
Triller subsequently tried to move the fight back to October 16, after which Kambosos finally said enough was enough and asked the IBF to find Triller in default, which it did, costing Triller an estimated $ 10 million in lost expenses.
Hearns Matchroom Sports will now promote the match on the DAZN platform.
So when is the fight?
Incredibly, we still do not know.
Hearn tweeted that the date and place will be announced “soon”.
Both camps are frustrated, with Teófimó López Senior, Lopez’s father and coach, saying Triller should “pay for the entire year they took from my son”.
Kambosos, for his part, has tweeted a video of him training and saying he is ready to go.
“I have been patient, but I have been prepared,” he wrote.
“It’s my time.”