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Lomachenko returns next week against Nakatani on June 26th

Image: Lomachenko returns next week against Nakatani on June 26th

By Brad Slotnick: Vasily Lomachenko will be coming off an eight-month layoff next week to take on Masayoshi Nakatani on June 26th in the main event on ESPN at the Virgen Hotels Las Vegas.

Nakatani (19-1, 10 KOs) will have to deal with the Matrix when he gets in there with the former three-division world champion Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs). This is the first fight back for Lomachenko, 33, since losing to Teofimo Lopez Jr by a 12 round unanimous decision last October.

Rather than take an easy fight to rebuild his confidence, the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko is jumping right back in with #5 WBO, #8 WBA, #9 WBC, #10 IBF Nakatani.

The timing of this fight couldn’t be worse for Lomachenko because he’s not only coming off a defeat, but he’s facing a guy having eaten beaten Felix Verdejo by a 9th round knockout last December.

That was easily the best win of the 32-year-old Nakatani’s ten-year professional career. With that said, it was a difficult fight for Nakatani, as he was dropped twice in the early going by the heavy-handed Verdejo in rounds one and four.

However, Nakatani stuck around long enough to wear Verdejo down in the later rounds and drop him with a jab in the ninth round.

When Verdejo got back up, Nakatani flattened him with a huge shot that put him down for the second and final time in the fight.

All fights are important, of course, but this one is crucial for Lomachenko because he’s being talked about potentially facing Lomachenko in a reach if he wins against Nakatani.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum says he’d like to put Teofimo and Lomachenko together for a rematch on pay-per-view.

If Teofimo agrees to it, the rematch with Lomachenko will likely happen in early 2022. Teofimo had been planning on fighting this weekend against George Kambosos Jr and then in October, but his COVID 19 illness has changed those plans.

Teofimo will now be taking on Kambosos Jr on August 14th, and that’ll likely be the only fight for him this year.

Image: Lomachenko returns next week against Nakatani on June 26th

Lomachenko’s next fight could be against WBC lightweight champion Devin Haney, who in the past has expressed interest in fighting him. If Haney is still serious about fighting Lomachenko, that would be an excellent fight to make.

Haney’s promoter Eddie Hearn and dad Bill Haney will need to discuss it first. It’s no secret that Haney looked bad in his recent fight against Jorge Linares, and it’s possible that they won’t want to match him tough against Lomachenko after that flawed performance.

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