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Vasily Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani possible for summer

Image: Vasily Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani possible for summer

By Jim Maltzman: Bob Arum says he’s planning on putting together a fight between Vasily Lomachenko and Masayoshi Nakatani for early summer. This would be the former pound-for-pound star Lomachenko’s first fight since his loss to Teofimo Lopez last October in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) is coming off of right-shoulder surgery, and he’s ready to get back in there and regain his throne as the #1 lightweight in the division. This fight against Nakatani will show whether Lomachenko is 100% physically.

If Loma is not at his best, he could be in for a long night against Nakatani. This isn’t the type of fighter that you want to face if you’re not healthy because he’ll take you through a grind. Teofimo Lopez had a lot of problems against Nakatani in July 2019.

Although Teofimo won a 12 round decision, the fight was much closer than the wide scores that were handed down by the judging crew that night. Nakatani fought well enough to lose by a round or two if that.

The Top Rank boss Arum is matching Lomachenko, 32, tough by putting him in with Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs), who is coming off a huge 9th round knockout win over Felix Verdejo last December.

Image: Vasily Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani possible for summer

“Lomachenko, we talked to him. We’re looking for early summer, and we’re looking to put him before he’s tired of fighting in Bubbles,” Bob Arum said to iFL TV.

“He’s a big ticket-seller, so we think we can do a big fight in early summer in the United States may be against the Japanese boy [Masayoshi] Nakatani, who knocked out [Felix] Verdejo, and gave [Teofimo] Lopez all he could handle, went the full 10 rounds with Lopez.

“Nakatani is a really hard-punching lightweight, and we’re looking towards him as the opponent for Lomachenko,” said Arum.

Verdejo is a fighter that Arum and Top Rank have been grooming since 2012 to become a world champion, but Nakatani blew those dreams out of the water by stopping the Puerto Rican fighter.

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It wasn’t easy, though, as Verdejo knocked Nakatani down in the first and fourth round. After the knockdown in the fourth, Nakatani got off the deck with a determined look on his face, and he began to take the fight to Verdejo.

By the eighth round, Verdejo was fighting on fumes, and taking horrendous punishment from the tall Japanese fighter.

In the ninth, Nakatani floored Verdejo twice to get the knockdown The second knockdown by Nakatani was from a vicious right hand to the head of Verdejo that poleaxed him.

The fact that Lomachenko is being matched against Nakatani suggests that he’s decided to stay at 135 rather than move back down to 130.

Image: Vasily Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani possible for summer

Many boxing fans believe that Loma would be better off going back down to super featherweight, as he’s a tad bit undersized for the lightweight division.

Lomachenko started at 126 when he turned professional after capturing two Olympic gold medals, and he’s steadily climbed through the divisions until arriving at 135.

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