Will the best version of Masayoshi Nakatani be displayed against Vasyl Lomachenko? – Boxing Sports

Masayoshi Nakatani (right) vs. Felix Verdejo.Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images

World-renowned lightweight Masayoshi Nakatani will face former three-part title holder Vasyl Lomachenko at the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Nakatani, who is ranked 9th at £ 135 at The Ring, has long admired the Ukrainians’ outstanding skills, but feels like the former Pound for Pound king was once. not.

“I consider this [a] Nakatani (19-1, 13 knockouts) told The Ring through Hank Hakoda. “Lomachenko saw me and I never imagined I would fight him. Prior to that [him moving up to] Lightweight, some of his games he outperformed his opponents and tampered with them surprised me. Unique footwork not found in other fighters.His craftsmanship was so great [it] I even wondered who could beat him on earth. His dominant victory was simply great.

“Lomachenko looks different because he was promoted to lightweight. For his honor, his fierce victory over Jorge Linares was impressive and showed off his exclusive skill set, Otherwise he does not show his own boxing [at lightweight], That made him very special. “

Nakatani, 5 feet 11½, rises above Lomachenko and intends to use his larger size to make it as difficult as possible for his rivals.

“My advantage is that I have a larger frame than him,” said Nakatani, who is 4½ inches tall with a 5½-inch reach advantage. “I’ve been fighting lightweight for a long time and he’s gaining weight. That should give me a kind of mental advantage.”

The 32-year-old will be competing in a buoyant mood against the backdrop of a stop victory in the ninth round, which was a come-from-behind victory over former candidate Felix Verdejo last December.

“I’m back [17-month] Pause, getting ready to meet one of the top candidates has never been easier [a] Adjustment [bout], “He explained.” I [knew if I] If you win, more opportunities will naturally follow. “

And in the form of Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO), they won the featherweight and junior lightweight titles before winning the WBA, WBC and WBO titles at the Ring Magazine Championship and Lightweight. It was the No. 1 lightweight class.

Both men have a common enemy, the undisputed lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez. However, Nakatani feels that each battle took place at different times in their careers.

“I think Lomachenko took a different approach than mine,” he explained. “At that time, Lomachenko was already a proven champion and was at the top of the list with a wealth of achievements over the years. I was a fighter who had just begun to climb the world’s lightweight ladder.

“During the clash with Lopez, I voluntarily dealt with his strong punches so that he wouldn’t dominate the fight, while Lomachenko was fairly conservative so that he wouldn’t be damaged by Lopez’s hard punches. As you know, Lopez was a very dangerous fighter, especially in the first two rounds, so Lomachenko was very cautious without being endangered in the early rounds. Lomachenko and I were with Lopez I had a different way of thinking about entering the battle, so I had a different strategy. “

Nakatani feels that it is a blueprint for how Lopez fought Lomachenko, especially in the early rounds, because he could confuse the old master.

“Ideally, I want to stay away from Lomachenko’s favorite range and fight at my long distance,” he admitted. “The most informative match to get to know him is to meet Lopez. Takeaway from [that] The match contains clues on how to make Lomachenko uncomfortable. He looks uncomfortable when he is attacked with a bold punch.

Teofimo Lopez (right) vs Vasyl Lomachenko.Photo by Mikey Williams / Top Rank

“Also, Jorge Linares dropped Lomachenko on his straight right hand. [with] Will tell me something. Last time I sparred with Jorge Linares, but this time I didn’t sparring because Lomachenko is a southpaw. Lomachenko and I try to find a definitive straight punch house and fight each straight punch at a very accessible distance.

“Especially when not exchanging punches, you need to expose him to a very charged atmosphere. Otherwise, he will always hit me freely.”

Nakatani, who trained at Teiken Gym, was sparring with Kenji Fujita and Subaru Murata until 10 days before the battle under the supervision of Sendai Tanaka, but when he traveled to the United States, he warned Lomachenko.

“To take part in this showdown in the best possible way, I’m preparing everything to show my best version on the night of the fight,” Nakatani said. “No matter what, I will fight Lomachenko with the determination to win.

“As the pandemic gets worse, I would like to provide positive inspiration to Japan by showing that Japanese boxers can compete in big events abroad like my compatriots. [The Ring Magazine bantamweight champion] Naoya Inoue does. “

Correspondent Hank Hakoda adjusted and translated this feature.

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Questions and comments can be sent to Anson at: [email protected] You can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright..

– Boxing Sports

Will the best version of Masayoshi Nakatani be displayed against Vasyl Lomachenko? Will the best version of Masayoshi Nakatani be displayed against Vasyl Lomachenko?

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