Lomachenko needs decisive win over Nakatani for possible Teofimo rematch

By Boxing News - 06/23/2021 - Comments

By Sean Jones: Vasily Lomachenko has a must-win fight this Saturday night against Masayoshi Nakatani that could impact his chances for a rematch with multi-belt lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is keen on the idea of putting Teofimo and Lomachenko back in with each other for a fight on ESPN PPV, provided Loma wins his fight against Nakatani on Saturday, and Teo defeats George Kambosos Jr on August 14th.

Teofimo may drag his feet on the idea of fighting Lomachenko, but he’ll be in a bad position to reject the fight if Loma beats Nakatani with ease on Saturday.

There’s clearly doubt in the mind of Teofimo whether he can beat a healthy Lomachenko after he squeaked by with a win over him last October.

Lomachenko feels that Nakatani (19-1, 10 KOs) is a useful opponent to give himself and the fans a chance to compare his performance against Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs), who had trouble defeating him in 2019.

The three scores handed down in the Teofimo-Nakatani fight didn’t reflect the reality of what took place inside the ring in that fight.

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Teofimo really struggled and may have done enough to win by  116-114 score, but the judges had him winning by these strangely lopsided scores:

  • 118-110
  • 119-109
  • 118-110

Sean Jones had Teofimo winning by a 116-112 score, and he was very generous to Teo, who completely gassed out after six rounds.

Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs) wants to get a second fight with Teofimo after losing his WBA, WBC Franchise & WBO 135-lb belts against him last October.

To keep those hopes alive for a rematch with Teofimo, Lomachenko must get an emphatic victory against Nakatani on Saturday. If Lomachenko can either knock Nakatani or dominate him in such a manner that he quits, that would put a ton of pressure on Teofimo to fight him.

“Vasily Lomachenko returns against Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th. This is Lomachenko’s first fight since losing his titles and for some, the title of the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world to Teofimo Lopez,” said Max Kellerman to ESPN.

“Now, Nakatani also has a loss to Teofimo Lopez. He’s coming off a knockout win over Felix Verdejo, who had apparently revived his career, but Nakatani beat him.

“And Nakatani, if you recall, was a huge underdog against Teofimo. And one of the reasons, not just for guys like me, but I cooled a little bit on Lopez’s prospects, on Teofimo Lopez’s prospects to be a dominant champion was I felt he should have done better against Nakatani than he did.

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“But what Nakatani has shown since then is he is a quality fighter and can actually win some fights against name opposition.

“So obviously, as a measuring stick with Teofimo, this is an interesting comeback fight for Lomachenko,” said Kellerman.