Former three-division titleholder Vasiliy Lomachenko will be looking to get back in the win column on Saturday night after his upset loss to Teofimo Lopez last October.
Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO) is taking on Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KO) in a 12-round non-title bout at the Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight and its undercard will be shown on ESPN+ and Sky Sports.
Before losing the WBA/WBO/IBF and Ring Magazine titles to Lopez, Lomachenko was regarded by many to be near, if not at the top, of the mythical pound-for-pound list. Other than that loss though, the 33-year-old has racked up quite an impressive resume at lightweight (135 lbs). Since moving up to the weight class in 2018, Lomachenko has gone 4-1, with wins over Jorge Linares, Jose Pedraza, Anthony Crolla and Luke Campbell. Not to mention Lomachenko’s stellar accomplishments at featherweight (126 lbs) and junior lightweight (130 lbs).
Since his arrival on the American prizefighting scene in 2019, Nakatani hasn’t been given any soft touches. In July of that year, Nakatani lost a unanimous decision to Teofimo Lopez. Then, after being out of the ring for over a year, Nakatani scored the biggest win of his career so far, stopping Felix Verdejo in the ninth round in December 2020. Nakatani will have an opportunity to top that on Saturday night.
On paper, Nakatani is a good bounce-back opponent for Lomachenko, who is undoubtedly the betting favourite. A win for Lomachenko—especially an impressive one—should put him right back in the mix at lightweight, and perhaps earn him another shot at Lopez later this year. This fight, however, is much more meaningful for Nakatani, who has the chance to score the win of a lifetime on Saturday and open the door to more big money fights in the future.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Teofimo Lopez - LOSS by UD (119-109, 117-111, 116-112) - 17/10/2020
Luke Campbell - WIN by UD (119-108, 119-108) - 31/08/2019
Anthony Crolla - WIN by KO 4 - 12/04/2019
Jose Pedraza - WIN by UD (119-107, 117-109, 117-109) - 08/12/2018
Jorge Linares - WIN by TKO 10 - 12/05/2018
Felix Verdejo - WIN by TKO 9 - 12/12/2020
Teofimo Lopez - LOSS by UD- 19/07/2019
Hurricane Futa- WIN by TKO 4 - 09/12/2018
Izuki Tomioka - WIN by TKO 11 - 29/07/2018
Amphol Suriyo - WIN by KO 6 - 24/02/2018
Date: June 19th, 2021
Time: 3:00 am (UK), 10:00pm (ET), 7:00pm (PT)
Venue: Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Channel: ESPN+, Sky Sports
Elsewhere on the card
In the co-main event, top middleweight contender Rob Brant (26-2, 18 KO) will take on prospect and former 2016 Olympian Janibek Alimkanuly (9-0, 7 KO) in a 10-round bout.