NEW YORK -- Teofimo Lopez promised a first-round knockout and pushed hard to accomplish just that by unloading on George Kambosos, but the opening round ended with the champion on the canvas.
Turns out, the knockdown wasn't a fluke but a harbinger of what was to come Saturday night at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden.
Kambosos, the underdog from Australia, survived a 10th-round knockdown to score a split-decision victory over Lopez in a major upset to claim the WBO, WBA, IBF and WBC franchise lightweight championship.
One judge scored it for Lopez, 114-113, with the other two judges scoring for Kambosos, 115-112 and 115-111.
"I believed in myself, I backed myself," said Kambosos, 28. "I thought, 'I'm going to hit him hard and put him down,' and the fight changed off that. ... I'm an unbelievable boxer; I can't believe how good I boxed."
Said Lopez: "I don't care what anybody says, man. ... I won this fight."
Lopez (16-1, 12 KOs), 24, of Brooklyn, New York, was fighting for the first time since defeating Vasiliy Lomachenko by unanimous decision in October 2020.
Kambosos (20-0, 10 KOs), 28, of Sydney, Australia, was coming off a close decision win against Lee Selby in October 2020 at London's Wembley Stadium.