Eddie Hearn is prepared to clean up a heavyweight-sized mess in the lightweight division.

The lineal/WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight championship clash between Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos has now landed in the hands of Matchroom Boxing, Hearn announced Wednesday. The move comes on the heels of the IBF ruling that Triller Fight Club has defaulted on the terms of the purse bid hearing it had won back in February, with the fight moving on to the next highest bidder.

“Delighted to confirm that Matchroom Boxing will be promoting the big Teofimo Lopez-George Kambosos unified [title fight] live on DAZN,” Hearn revealed Wednesday. “Date and venue announced shortly. Let’s get this show on the road.”

The development is the latest in an ongoing saga that will leave both champion and challenger out of the ring for more than a year by the time their fight is rescheduled. Five scheduled fight dates have fallen through since the February 25 purse bid hearing, which Triller Fight Club won with a whopping $6,018,000 bid to secure the rights to the fight.

Upon the rescheduled date of October 4 coming and going without a fight taking place, Australia’s Kambosos (19-0, 10KOs)—through top litigation attorney Greg Smith—filed a motion with the IBF calling for Triller to be declared in violation of the terms of the purse bid.

The latest resolution called for the fight to take place no later than October 17, with both sides begrudgingly agreeing to move the fight to October 4 at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater in New York City. When Triller CEO Ryan Kavanaugh went public with plans to move the fight off the date, Kambosos and what’s left of his team had enough, calling for the IBF to take action while looking to protect his place as IBF mandatory challenger.

The New Jersey-based sanctioning body did just that on Wednesday, as first tweeted by veteran boxing writer Dan Rafael. As a result, Triller loses the rights to the fight along with $1,203,600—20% of the bid which was left in escrow. Furthermore, Triller Fight Club is barred from participating in any IBF-sanctioned purse bid hearings through April 6.

Lopez (16-0, 12KOs) was due to make $3,911,700, or 65% of the winning bid as the defending champ, while Kambosos was due $2,106,300—both far and away career high paydays. Both are still entitled to a 65/35 split of the 20% deposit that promoters are required to leave in escrow for any fight secured through a purse bid. Triller loses that amount in violation of IBF Rule 10.F.2 - Failure of Promoter to Comply with Obligation.

The escrowed funds help supplement what still serves as generous paydays for both boxers. Matchroom was the second-highest bidder and now prepared to dole out $3.506,000 to promote the fight, likely in December.

Lopez—who makes his first defense as unified champion and second overall defense of his IBF belt—will now make $2,278,900 plus the $782,340 amount from Triller’s defaulted purse bid. It will leave him $850,460 short of what he was due under the original purse bid terms, though still clearing a career-best payday. Kambosos will make $1,227,100 plus the remaining $421,260—$457,950 shy of the original set purse—though with greater peace of mind that the fight will actually move forward and without fear of not getting paid.

Lopez has held the IBF belt since a second-round knockout of Richard Commey in December 2019. His first defense turned into a career-best win, outpointing Vasiliy Lomachenko over twelve rounds in their WBA/IBF/WBO lightweight title unification clash last October 17 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. The feat saw Lopez earn Fighter of the Year honors in a pandemic-stricken 2020 where all it took was one big win.

Efforts to defend that crown have proven far more problematic.

Brooklyn’s Lopez and his team spent the rest of the year casually discussing a mandatory title fight with Kambosos, who secured the title shot with a twelve-round win over former featherweight title claimant Lee Selby last Halloween in London. Talks spilled over into 2021, before the IBF intervened in officially ordering the mandatory title fight. The two sides failed to reach terms, in large part due to in-house fighting between Lopez and promoter Top Rank.

The fight went to a purse bid hearing February 25, with Matchroom offering more than the combined bids of Matchroom and Top Rank (a distant third with a bid of $2,315,000). The original terms of the purse bid called for the fight to take place no later than May 29. Triller convinced Lopez to agree to doing the fight one week later, to have headlined a June 5 Triller Pay-Per-View event from loanDepot Park, home to Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlines.

From there came the dysfunction surrounding what should have been a routine mandatory title defense.

Triller opted to move the event back two weeks, as to not compete with a subsequently announced June 6 Showtime PPV headlined by an exhibition bout between Hall of Fame former five-division champion Floyd Mayweather and social media influencer Logan Paul in nearby Miami Gardens. A new date of June 19 was secured, only for the event to be canceled after Lopez tested positive for Covid barely a week ahead of the show.

Triller acted in haste, declaring that the event would be rescheduled for August 14, to which Lopez agreed. That date quickly transitioned to September 11 as part of another PPV event before exploring the possibility of staging the event in mid-October in Kambosos’ native Australia.

Lopez put his foot down by that point, threatening legal action over such a move and insisting he preferred the August 14 date initially announced. His legal team—led by Patrick English—also argued that, as the defending champion, he should not be required to travel to Australia where he would have to quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival.

The matter was reviewed by the IBF, ultimately splitting the baby in allowing a deadline of October 17 for the fight to take place to avoid a purse bid default. However, the sanctioning body also ruled that the fight could not take place in any country where either party would be subject to pre-fight quarantine.

That led to the decision of hosting the event in New York City during the first week of October. A date of October 5 was revealed before officially moving it up one night to October 4, a Monday. Subsequent concerns of going head-to-head with a Monday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers was the starting point for the latest change of plans.

The excuse didn’t quite fly with Team Kambosos.

“Given that the NFL released its Monday Night Football schedule in May 2021, Mr. Kavanaugh’s comments were either a lie or an admission of incompetence on the part of Triller to understand sports scheduling,” Smith asserted in a complaint filed with the IBF.  “In the days that followed, Mr. Kavanaugh attempted to secure the approval of Mr. Lopez and Mr. Kambosos to reschedule the bout in conformance with his announcement.

“Mr. Kambosos is informed and believes that Mr. Lopez signed an amendment to his bout agreement on September 22, 2021 — after Triller misrepresented to him that Mr. Kambosos had signed a similar document. Notably, Triller did not countersign the Lopez amendment, which was provided to the IBF by Mr. [Thorsten] Meier [Triller COO].”

Triller showed little regard for the legal threat, informing MSG that the event would be canceled and that plans were place to relocate the event to October 16 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Additionally, the first-year outfit sought to have Kambosos removed as mandatory challenger and for the IBF to return its 20% escrow deposit. 

Neither of the latter two scenarios played out. IBF president Daryl J. Peoples noted the only existing contract in place calling for the fight to take place October 4, without any other agreement reached between all involved parties in making its final determination on an issue that has lingered far too long.

Triller still gets its October 16 show at Barclays, though without its centerpiece attraction as it will instead move forward with the originally planned undercard—all while claiming to have lost more than $10 million between past promotion, previously canceled events and the funds held in escrow to which the company can no longer recover.

Meanwhile, Lopez and Kambosos get to move on with their careers and their long-awaited grudge match. 

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox