Vasiliy Lomachenko is in Familiar Territory Against Masayoshi Nakatani

Posted on 06/25/2021

By: Hector Franco

This weekend, followers and pundits will witness the return of former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs). The 2-time Olympic gold medalist will face off in opposition to Japan’s Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) in a 12-round light-weight bout.

The match will happen on the Theater on the Virgin Inns in Las Vegas and can be televised on ESPN.

The final time Lomachenko was seen contained in the squared circle was in October 2020 the place he misplaced a unanimous choice to Teofimo Lopez. Following the loss to Lopez, Lomachenko underwent surgical procedure on his proper shoulder.

The damage was undoubtedly an element within the bout with Lopez as Lomachenko fought in a surprisingly reserved style within the first half of the match. Nonetheless, with nearly 400 beginner fights and a majority of his skilled fights being world title bouts, accidents could also be a recurring theme for the Ukrainian for the rest of his profession.

“I’ve by no means proven my one hundred pc talent as a result of there was at all times some little downside,” Lomachenko said on Prime Rank’s documentary Relentless, selling the battle with Nakatani. “The battle with Linares, I had the issue with my shoulder. If we bear in mind Pedraza, it was my first battle after surgical procedure, and with Crolla, I broke my hand, however I completed the battle.

“Now I’m wholesome, I’m prepared mentally for this battle, and I wish to win.”

Lomachenko’s opponent, Nakatani, could also be greatest recognized for offering Teofimo Lopez with arguably one of many hardest fights of his profession. The Japanese fighter is without doubt one of the most original fighters within the light-weight division, standing at nearly six ft with a 71-inch attain.

Extra notably, Nakatani is a fighter that has no stop, as exhibited in his earlier bout with the now-infamous Felix Verdejo. By the primary half of the match, Nakatani was primarily dominated by the jab and knocked down within the first and fourth rounds. The Japanese fighter continued to use stress and finally wore down the Puerto Rican, scoring two knockdowns resulting in a ninth-round stoppage.

For Nakatani, the chance to battle somebody like Lomachenko is one thing he’s not taking flippantly.

“It is a battle that I’ve to win and that I wish to win,” mentioned Nakatani. “When this battle got here up, I felt that it’s the greatest battle of my profession. However getting the battle doesn’t imply something. I need to win for this battle to imply one thing.

“I’m going to win!”

At 33-years of age, the previous unified light-weight champion is a fighter that has responded effectively to losses. When Lomachenko suffered his first and solely loss as an beginner to Russia’s Albert Selimov, he responded with two victories in rematches.

After struggling his first loss to Orlando Salido in his second skilled bout, Lomachenko, in his subsequent battle, defeated the then-undefeated Gary Russell Jr. to seize the vacant WBO featherweight title.

If historical past is any indication, Lomachenko might have a standout efficiency in opposition to Nakatani. Nonetheless, historical past gained’t have something to do with what occurs contained in the ring. Nakatani represents a tough problem for the Ukrainian, and a victory gained’t come simple.

Whereas Nakatani might show to be arduous opposition for the previous pound-for-pound star, followers will sit up for what Lomachenko does subsequent, particularly if a rematch with Lopez will happen.

A rematch clause wasn’t in place for the primary bout with Lopez, and the youthful fighter has vehemently said {that a} rematch isn’t within the playing cards. Nonetheless, with Lopez not too long ago resigning with promoter Prime Rank if a extra vital battle can’t happen, a rematch between the 2 pugilists may occur.

For now, Lomachenko stays centered on the duty at hand.

“I’ve a battle this Saturday,” mentioned Lomachenko. “After, we will speak in regards to the Teofimo Lopez rematch. However, in fact, everybody is aware of I need that battle once more.”

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