Australian boxer George Kambosos pulled off a shocking upset of the erstwhile undefeated Teofimo Lopez to become the new undisputed world lightweight champion, Saturday in New York (Sunday in Manila).
In an action-packed bout, Kambosos came away with a split decision victory, with two judges scoring the bout in his favor, 115-111 and 115-112. The other judge scored the bout in Lopez's favor, 114-113.
With his victory, the 28-year-old Kambosos claimed the WBA, IBF, WBO, and The RING lightweight titles, while improving his record to 20-0 with 10 knockouts.
Among those who hailed Kambosos for his triumph is retired former world champion Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, who had sparred several times with the Australian during his own training camps.
"Congratulations to my friend, George Kambosos, on an epic win," Pacquiao tweeted.
"You helped me in so many of my past fights, I hope our hundreds of rounds of sparring helped you in some way tonight," he added. "I'm proud of you."
According to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald, Kambosos has been a sparring partner of Pacquiao since 2018, when the Filipino ring icon fought -- and defeated -- Lucas Matthysse. For the past three years, they sparred some 250 rounds.
The experience was crucial for Kambosos, who entered as a massive underdog against Lopez but was armed with lessons learned from the "Pacman."
"It gave me that extra bit of confidence in my head, knowing if I'm doing it with this legend, side by side with him for his 12-round championship fights, I know exactly what I have to do," Kambosos told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Kambosos dropped Lopez in the opening round but the champion was quick to recover, and the pair went toe-to-toe the rest of the way. Lopez returned the favor in the tenth, landing a right hand that sent Kambosos to the canvas.
The knockdown only seemed to fuel Kambosos, who poured it on in the final two rounds while Lopez dealt with a bloody cut above his left eye.
The loss was the first in Lopez's professional career, dropping him to 16-1 with 12 KOs.