Triller just threw its name into the ring to promote the next fight of one of boxing's rising stars.
The upstart tech company won the rights to promote Teofimo Lopez's lightweight title defense against George Kambosos with a bid of more than $6 million, a source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. Triller, which was founded in 2015, beat out established boxing outfits such as Matchroom and Top Rank, Lopez's current promoter, in a purse bid hosted by the IBF on Thursday.
The rights to promote Lopez's mandatory defense hit the open market after Lopez and Top Rank failed to reach an agreement on a purse. Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs) became the unified lightweight champion after beating Vasiliy Lomachenko in October 2020 to win the IBF, WBA and WBO belts in the 135-pound division.
"I love ESPN and the platform and everything they have done for Team Lopez and The Takeover. However, I am very thankful that my team and I stuck to our guns," Lopez said in a statement to ESPN's Mark Kriegel. "We knew what we were being offered was disrespectful, and we expected the open market would value us differently. And it showed today. The $6 million from Triller, right there, says that Top Rank doesn't value the best fighter on their roster. I look forward to my title defense against George Kambosos. Stay tuned for the fight date."
Triller made headlines when it promoted the exhibition bout between former heavyweight champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr as a pay-per-view attraction. According to reports, the fight generated more than 1.6 million buys.
Because of the IBF's purse-split rules that give the champion 65%, Lopez's share will be just under $4 million. Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) is set to receive $2.1 million in his third fight in the United States. The Australian is coming off a split-decision victory over Lee Selby last October in London.
Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Proxima Media, the company that owns Triller, said that Lopez vs. Kambosos will "probably be a co-main event" on a Triller card in May paired with an "influencer-celebrity-type event."
"We don't view them as an undercard. It's just a matter if we have a co-main [event] that brings a different audience than them or not," he said.
Kavanaugh said Triller would be open to bid for more fights in the future.
"If it's an attractive purse bid like this where it's for a significant title with well-known talent and people that we think will attract the right audience, then absolutely," he said.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef said the agreement means "at the end of the day, everybody wins."
"If Teofimo comes out successful and has a successful defense against Kambosos, terrific," he said. "If they do a bunch of promotion and he gets bigger on the social platform, terrific and we have a long career together going forward."
ESPN's Marc Raimondi contributed to this report.