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Announced: Vasyl Lomachenko faces Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th in Las Vegas on Espn+

Image: Announced: Vasyl Lomachenko faces Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th in Las Vegas on Espn+

By Sean Jones: Vasyl Lomachenko returns to the ring this summer on June 26th against Masayoshi Nakatani in a scheduled 12-round headliner on ESPN+ at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, in Las Vegas Nevada.

It’s going to be difficult for the 5’6″ Lomachenko to handle the height and reach of the tall 5’11” Nakatani, but he’s going to have to find a way.

If Lomachenko doesn’t want to suffer a second straight defeat, he’ll need to get inside Nakatani’s huge reach to land his shots.

The start time for the Lomachenko – Nakatani card on ESPN+ is 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT. Too bad it’ll be on the app because many boxing fans would like to see Lomachenko in action, but many of them will be less willing to pay to see him, given that he’s coming off a loss.

Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) is a tough customer for Lomachenko to be fighting, as he’s coming off a career-best ninth-round stoppage victory over highly hyped former Top Rank prospect Felix Verdejo last December in Las Vegas.

That was a courageous performance by Nakatani, 32, in getting dropped twice by Verdejo in the first half of the contest and then coming back to stop Verdejo in the ninth.

Image: Announced: Vasyl Lomachenko faces Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th in Las Vegas on Espn+

It looked like Verdejo was on his way to an easy victory early on in the fight, but he faded in the second half from the pressure the 5’11” Nakatani was putting on him.

For Lomachenko to win this fight, he’s going to have to be prepared for what could be a grueling match because Nakatani is going to go all out to beat him. This is by far the biggest fight of Nakatani’s career, and he’ll be going all out to add Lomachenko’s name to his win column.

Some boxing fans feel that Nakatani deserved a victory over Teofimo Lopez in their fight in July 2019. Nakatani gave the shorter 5’8″ Teofimo pure trouble from start to finish in that fight and made him earn his controversial win.

Many boxing fans wanted to see Teofimo-Nakatani rematch, but Teofimo chose to go in another direction rather than facing him again.

In fact, Teofimo said after the fight that he didn’t want to face any taller fighters after the tough time that Nakatani gave him.

The former three-division world champion Lomachenko, 33, isn’t taking an easy fight in coming off right-shoulder surgery, and it looks like he wants to get a quick title shot against IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO champ Teofimo.

More than likely, Lomachenko won’t get the rematch with ‘The Takeover’ Teofimo, who has plans on heading in the northward direction to challenge the Josh Taylor vs. Jose Ramirez winner after he defends against his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr on June 5th.

It’ll have been eight months since Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) lost his IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise lightweight titles in a 12 round unanimous decision loss against Teofimo last October.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko has many questions being asked of him after his loss to Teofimo, and some fans believe he’s past it at 33.

The former pound-for-pound #1 Lomachenko’s latest difficult fight against Teofimo showed that he’s not cut out to be fighting in the 135-lb division. This was Lomachenko’s fourth difficult fight at lightweight out of the five he had since moving up in weight in 2018.

Lomachenko’s fights at 135:

  • Jose Pedraza
  • Anthony Crolla
  • Teofimo Lopez
  • Jorge Linares
  • Luke Campbell

It would be smart for Lomachenko to move back down to super featherweight, but he doesn’t seem to want to return to that weight class.

Image: Announced: Vasyl Lomachenko faces Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th in Las Vegas on Espn+

If Gervonta Davis and Teofimo both move up to 140, there won’t be an incentive for Lomachenko to stay at 135.

We don’t know if Ryan Garcia will be able to come back from his bout with mental illness, and even if he does, he’s not likely to risk his neck against Lomachenko.

WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney has no fan base to speak of, so it’s not worth it for Lomachenko to stay at 135 to fight him.

Top Rank’s decision to schedule Lomachenko vs. Nakatani on June 26th is bad news for the Gervonta Davis vs. Mario Barrios fight on the same night on Showtime pay-per-view.

Gervonta-Barrios isn’t a great fight as it is, but the numbers could suffer.


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