Written by Tré Berry III | 06/27/2021
The health of the right shoulder was the immediate theme, and focus of the fight…of course outside of the competition itself. With that being said, 🇺🇦Vasiliy “Loma” Lomachenko (15-2-0, 11KO) passed that lingering test with flying colors, devouring #9 ranked Ring-Magazine contender 🇯🇵Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2-0, 13KO) with a frightening level of skill, guile, footwork, combinations, and punching power, doing so in a way that further supported the notion that a healthy Loma is an extremely dangerous one for the rest of the 135 lb. landscape. He can now turn his attention towards a rematch…and there is some extra news attached to it. What is this news? Continue reading to get to the particulars.
VASILIY “LOMA” LOMACHENKO PROUDLY SHOULDERING THE LOAD TONIGHT
After the first minute, Lomachenko began to open up, and get to the inside of Nakatani’s left jab, veering off the angle, and stepping in to catch Masayoshi with the lead left hand while changing levels from down to up. An inadvertent headbutt caused a gash by Lomas hair line that bled profusely, though Cutman Russ Anber did a good job of coagulating the cut, and it didn’t add any drama, or anything worrysome for the Loma contingent for the rest of the fight.
Loma’s footwork was absolutely superb in the second round, constantly stepping around Nkatani whenever he picked up his lead foot to commit, moving in different directions every time he did so, and he hurt the Japanese fighter with a sharp left hand – right up the pike. The third round, you finally started to see Lomachenko commit to firing short right hooks on the inside, which is the main thing we were looking for in terms of his health as a good sign going forward.
Constant rhythm switches, level changes, and multiple different punch sequences had Nakatani befuddled, and looked visibly flustered, as he had never seen that type of movement, or skill in previous fights. Round 4, Nakatani resorted more to targeting the body, though quite a few of those that appeared to have landed landed a little low…unintentionally of course, but has to be noted in the overall scheme of things.
There was a lot of holding in the 4rd and 5th round from Nakatani, indicating that he was getting overwhelmed with the constant moving parts associated with Loma, and at the backend of the 4th round, Loma put him down to the mat with a cross, left hook combination for the first knockdown of the fight. Nakatani’s been down before in his career, but the feel of this one was different as a pitfall unable to climb out of.
The 6th round was a huge one for Lomachenko, as he managed to hurt Masayoshi horribly with a piston left hand, and Nakatani wobbled back to the ropes while Loma feverishly roughed him around on the inside. A serious barrage of power punching was exhibited, even landing a nuclear left hand that snapped Nakatani’s head all the way back. At that point, one wondered if he was going to escape the punishment to even hear the bell, but he was fortunate to do so. With that being said, everything went down hill for him.
SOMETHING TO NOTE – We are well aware of Lomachenko’s wrestling background, and calisthenics workouts that keep him in supreme shape, making him able to bull through bigger fighters, and is probably the most difficult guy to hold in boxing because of those factors, but this is the physically strongest that we’ve seen the 33 year old Ukrainian, as he physically manhandled Nakatani on the inside, who was willing to do anything to hold to get a breather, but couldn’t maintain his grapples well enough to buy himself time.
Back to the fight…from that onslaught of terror inflicted in the 6th frame, and his feverish work put forth in the 7th, Nakatani’s right eye looked angry, and rendered all but closed. Something to note…Nakatani had his orbital bone broken in his previous 2 step-up fights, and it looked eerily similar to those days. One thing you could never question is Nakatani’s heart, and one wonders what was keeping him up at this point. He lost ALL control of the action to the far superior technical fighter, but somehow he was managing to at least stick around…well…to that point of the bout.
The next round was the last round…as Lomachenko hurt him once again the 9th stanza, and continued the horrible beating – it being started with a couple of powerful, whipping body shots that made Nakatani appear shorter than Loma due to the crouching over from the hurt of the impact.
Barely being able to see the left hand, Loma continued to pummel, and pummel away at the iron chinned Japanese fighter until his legs finally gave way, and Nakatani slumped down to his knees, collapsing backwards into the hands of acting Referee Celestino Ruiz, who did a good job of catching him to prevent further serious damage if he were to hit the canvas without the awareness to brace his drop down to the mat. Nakatani was finished by that barrage.
It was a brilliant performance by Lomachenko, in a fight that nobody truthfully forced him to sign up for, considering Nakatani’s threat as a physically imposing Lightweight, and one who ranked as top-10 in the world. Lomachenko, unlike the previous time where he was coming off of right labrum surgery like in his fight against 🇵🇷Jose Pedraza, he was able to whip the right hook, and use the stick at a whim, supporting positive health news regarding the shoulder going forward.
This may be the type of performance that sends a chill down the spines of the rest of the 135 lb. division, as he still got it, being that if physically correct, the future First Ballot Hall-of-Famer can still perform at an all-time-great level, and has much more to give to the sport of boxing.
PUTTING A SCOPE TOWARDS LOMA/LOPEZ II REMATCH, AND SHOWING WHY IT IS HIGHLY PROBABLE IT WILL HAPPEN NEXT
With this win out of the way, Lomachenko can now set his sights towards securing a re-match with 🇺🇸Teofimo “Takeover” Lopez, who now holds all of the highest ranked Lightweight belts as the definitive Champion by way of the process. If possible, there will be additional delays due to Lopez dealing with his covid-19 diagnosis, further delaying his fight with 🇦🇺George Kambosos Jnr., and truthfully as a contributing factor as well – the business surrounding that fight on the TRILLER platform underwhelming in interest, and the type of sales that they anticipated when they entered, and won the purse bid to host it as a main event.
With that being said, Promoter Bob Arum was able to coax Teofimo Lopez back to re-signing a deal with Top-Rank Promotions, rendering his TRILLER venture as a one-off. Teofimo’s new deal features additional perks of a higher base pay to more accurately reflect his rising star power, and a promise for a Pay-Per-View event to be had, to further maximize the earning potential. There have been whispers that a (Teofimo Lopez vs. Vasiliy Lomachenko II) fight is possible to fit for that assignment, especially considering that Lopez other options doesn’t particularly line up timing-wise.
Lopez expressed his desire for a fight with Undisputed Junior-Welterweight World Champion 🏴Josh Taylor, but Taylor has made it clear that he intends to take the Jack Catterall fight next. A Devin Haney fight for Teofimo, while it is high in acclaim, doesn’t warrant a Pay-Per-View tag at all, eliminating that from the equation, and someone like Ryan Garcia is currently still on the mend from dealing with external issues outside of the realm of boxing.
With 🇺🇸Gervonta “Tank” Davis perhaps fighting literally at the moment as I type this, his fate there, and his promotional backing makes a match-up highly unlikely for Lopez to get next, so smoothing out the entire landscape….if Teofimo were to clear Kambosos in his next fight, the only bout that logically makes sense for intrigue + acclaim to cast as a high revenue fight, it HAS to be Vasiliy Lomachenko getting a second fight with Lopez.
The news that circulated today was in Teofimo’s father/Head-Trainer Teofimo Lopez Sr. that he is open towards giving a rematch for their next bouts, that is of course if, or after they take care of the Kambosos Jnr. assignment.
In terms of Lomachenko, he will be chomping at the bit looking to get back his standing as Lightweight Champion, as well as his belts, and then-some, and with health on his side at this time, regardless of who wins or not, it would be a more accurate telling of who the best is in the Lightweight division, with health concerns fully resolved, and extenuating circumstances out of the question, delivering us a fight that gives us a clear scope of where they stand. We will keep our ears open to inform you all on how things may unfold in the next couple of months regarding this potential rematch.