By Jim Maltzman: Vasily Lomachenko sent a message to Teofimo Lopez with his methodical beat down of Masayoshi Nakatani last Saturday night at the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
After the impressive boxing display, the former three-division world champion Lomachenko told ESPN that he’d be waiting to fight IBF/WBA/WBC Franchise/WBO lightweight champion Teofimo (16-0, 12 KOs) in early 2022. He hopes to win his September 11th title defense against his IBF mandatory George Kambosos Jr on Triller PPV.
Lomachenko battered the powerful Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs), dropping him twice in the contest before the bout was waved off in the ninth round by referee Celestino Ruiz.
Moments before the stoppage, Nakatani was wobbling and in bad shape as Lomachenko unloaded on him with a storm of shots that he was powerless to halt.
At the time of the stoppage, Lomachenko was ahead on the scorecards by these scores: 78-73, 80-71, 80-71. It was pure domination from the two-time Olympic gold medalist Lomachenko with the way that he picked the stork-like 5’11 1/2″ Nakatani apart with his accurate shots.
Lomachenko will be waiting for Teofimo
“I won, and now I’m back on track,” said Lomachenko after his win over Nakatani. “Everybody saw how I won and have been waiting for the rematch [With Teofimo Lopez], so let’s make the rematch.
“He has a fight in the future with [George] Kambosos, but how about after, at the beginning of next year? December, January, February, I am waiting,” said Lomachenko.
“Of course, I am happy that they are giving me the rematch after everything I’ve done. I am happy about this opportunity,” Lomachenko said when told that Teofimo says he’ll give him a rematch.
“Please win your fight and let’s make it happen,” said Lomachenko when asked what his message is for Teofimo.
Lomachenko had the perfect game plan
Things started badly for the 33-year-old Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs) last Saturday night, as he suffered a bad cut on his forehead from a clash of heads with Nakata in the first round.
However, Loma’s cutman Russ Anber did an excellent job of stopping the bleeding in between rounds, and the cut wasn’t a factor the rest of the way.
Nakatani focused most of his attention on hitting Lomachenko to the body, considering he wouldn’t land to his head with any degree of accuracy. Instead, Lomachenko constantly moved, attacking in short darting bursts of punches.
When Loma would get in close, Nakatani wisely wrapped him up in a clinch. Then, in the fifth round, Lomachenko surprised Nakatani by hitting him with a hard right hand while being held in a clinch. The shot caused Nakatani to pull away to avoid getting hit again.
While Nakatani was moving away, Lomachenko rushed him, nailing him with several hard shots to drop him to the canvas. Nakatani wasn’t hurt. It was more of a case of Nakatani not having his feet under him firmly as he retreated from the clinch while getting nailed repeatedly by Lomachenko.
From this point on, Nakatani was worked over by Lomachenko, who landed with incredible accuracy in rounds six through nine. Although Loma wasn’t throwing a lot of punches, his accuracy turned the fight into a rout.
During the last three rounds of the contest, Nakatani’s right eye swelled up and was bleeding at the end. He also had blood coming from his nose.
“We had a strategy of being second because of his height and his arm length. But, unfortunately, I couldn’t be first,” said Lomachenko when asked who he dealt with the 5’11 1/2″ Nakatani’s height and reach advantage.
“So the strategy was to counterpunch, so it wasn’t to be first. But, of course, I’m happy. The strategy that we developed brought us the victory,” said Lomachenko.
“So I was keeping the strategy that my father developed, and we developed, and I reached my goal. I am happy about it. I was focused on my counter-punch, and I kept everything under control,” said Lomachenko.
Nakatani lacked the hand speed and inside game to deal with Lomachenko’s fighting style.
When Nakatani was on the inside, he was easy prey for Lomachenko, and it didn’t matter that he was tying him up all night to stifle his offense.
Teo ready to give Lomachenko a rematch
Teofimo, 23, has maintained that he no reason to give Lomachenko a rematch because he beat him fair and square. However, things have changed for the worse in his life, with his title defense against Kambosos Jr being rescheduled three times.
It’s rumored that poor ticket sales are the chief reason for the constant rescheduling of the Teofimo vs. Kambosos Jr fight. Additionally, Teofimo contracted COVID 19, and that wiped out his June 19th fight. Therefore, in the eyes of some boxing fans, they have doubts whether Teofimo is really ill.
They believe the fight was postponed because Teofimo was too heavy the week of the fight, and he wouldn’t have been able to make the 135-lb weigh-in limit for his June 19th title defense against Kambosos Jr.
To be sure, Teofimo looked huge that week, like a rehydrated welterweight, and it’s unclear whether he would have made the 135-lb limit.
Also, the ticket sales were reportedly poor for the fight, according to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe, and the prices had been slashed.
That obviously would be a good reason for postponing the fight. However, if the tickets weren’t selling for the Teofimo-Kambosos Jr event, you have to imagine that fans won’t purchase them on Triller PPV.