Forty-seven-fight veteran Steve Claggett will get his first shot at a world title when he challenges Teofimo Lopez for the WBO junior welterweight belt in Miami on June 29. 

Claggett (38-7-2, 26 KOs) comes out of relative obscurity to face Lopez following a career that has always seen him fall short when traveling to the U.S. to face high class opposition. However, Claggett, a Calgary native, has been on a nine-fight win streak since linking up with Camille Estephan’s Montreal-based Eye of the Tiger Management.  

“Steve Claggett has a great story that reminds me of Cinderella Man, that’s about [former world heavyweight champion Jim] Braddock,” Estephan told BoxingScene. “He’s always been the underdog. He never had a promoter and uniquely he used to train for a lot of his fights on his own. He’s called ‘The Dragon’ because of his heart, and they say he has three lungs. This is why we have a chance against anyone.

“We signed him three years ago, and he started training with Mike Moffa. We got him on his feet and he put together nine wins against really good guys that a lot of people didn’t want to fight, and he destroyed them. He’s an action fighter, he’s a great TV fighter, so I think the fight is going to be fireworks against Teofimo Lopez.”

Claggett’s last loss came at the hand of domestic rival Mathieu Germain through a split decision loss in a hotly contested rematch. It would prompt Estephan and Germain’s coach, Moffa, to start the journey that has led to an unlikely world title shot in Miami Beach.

“He fought a couple of our guys, and we saw a lot of potential in him, but he didn’t have that machine behind him,” Estephan said. “We gave him a chance and we are very happy to have done so.

“What I think is most important for fighters is to have a schedule. He has been extremely active; in just five months, he won the NABF title and defended it twice. To have the constant motivation of knowing when you are fighting is priceless – not just wandering aimlessly, not knowing when you are fighting. He’s been able to dial in and fully focus on his career. We were able to do that for him, which is great because we see it paying off now.”

Lopez (20-1, 13 KOs) will make the second defense of his WBO title, having snatched it from Josh Taylor with an impressive unanimous decision win last June. He made a successful first defense when he outpointed Jamaine Ortiz in February, but the fight - and Lopez - drew criticism for its humdrum nature. 

“Sometimes Lopez doesn’t look so good, but other times he looks really great,” Estephan said. “I hope he is prepared, because he is going to need to be against Claggett, or he’ll make you pay. All we can do is get Steve as ready as he can be. I still think we haven’t seen everything he has got, but now he has the opportunity to do that. When you have a great fighter in front of you, you have to be better.

“Lopez is amazing, he’s a superstar. We couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to show what Steve is capable of. The goal is to concentrate on what Steve does best. I think he has a chance against anyone.”