Masayoshi Nakatani predicting win against Vasily Lomachenko
By William Lloyd: Masayoshi Nakatani predicts that he’ll win on Saturday night when he takes on the recently dethroned former lightweight champion Vasily ‘Hi-Tech’ Lomachenko on ESPN at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)
During the face-off on Thursday at the final press conference, the 5’6″ Lomachenko joked with the much taller 5’11 1/2″ Nakatani, trying to bring him down to his height.
Nakatani (19-1, 10 KOs) needs a victory against the former three-division world champion to get in position for a world title shot, be it against WBC champion Devin Haney or possibly IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO champ Teofimo Lopez.
Although there’s no guarantee, Lomachenko has a slight chance of getting a rematch against Teofimo if he’s victorious on Saturday. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum would like to put the two of them back in with each other because it’s the most marketable fight that he has available to the two.
It’ll be up to Teofimo if he wishes to take the rematch with Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), who he beat last October. Teofimo has dug in his heels thus far, rejecting the idea of fighting Loma, even though it would pay him more.
Lomachenko wants to prove himself
“Of course, I want this fight again,” said Lomachenko when asked during Thursday’s final news conference if he wants to fight Teofimo Lopez again.
“I want to prove to myself and show my best skill and show who I am in the ring,” said Lomachenko. “He has the height, and he’s a very good boxer.”
“When this fight came up, I felt it was the biggest fight of my career up to this point,” said Nakatani about his clash against Loma on Saturday. “But having the fight and getting the fight doesn’t mean anything unless you win. I will positively win.”
“Unlike many fighters, particularly after they’ve experienced a loss, they always want an easy way back,” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
“But Loma isn’t like these other fighters; he wanted us to get him the toughest opponent that we can get. But clearly, the guy that fills that bill is Nakatani.
“Not only was he very competitive when he fought [Teofimo] Lopez, but was involved in a sensational fight with [Felix] Verdejo, who had him down a couple of times and had him in trouble, but he had the perseverance to pulls himself together and win the fight by knockout.
“This will be a tremendously competitive fight and will test each of the fighters,” said Arum.
It’s good that Lomachenko wants to get right back in there with one of the best fighters at 135, but it’s not going to guarantee him a second fight with Teofimo.
For that matter, a victory for Lomachenko might not earn him a fight with WBC champion Devin Haney, who hasn’t shown a lot of desire to defend against him. Perhaps Haney is bitter about Lomachenko not defending against him when he was his WBC mandatory.
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