Photo: boxingschedule.co and ESPN
Former unified lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10KOs) will make his return to the ring this Saturday, June 26th for the first time since losing his belts. The former pound-for-pound king will take on Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs).
The event takes place at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada and will stream on ESPN+. This will be a 12-round bout in the lightweight division at the weight limit of 135 pounds.
Both boxers are ranked in the top 10 of The Ring Magazine’s lightweight ratings, with Lomboachencko at number one and Nakatani at number nine.
This is Lomachenko’s first fight back since his defeat at the hands of Teofimo Lopez back in Oct. 2020. The 33-year-old boxer is a -1999 betting favorite as of Saturday.
Before his loss to Lopez, Lomachenko was on a 13-fight winning streak with victories over Nicholas Walters, Guillermo Rigondeaux, and Gary Russell Jr.
Lomachenko will be looking to bounce back and put his name back at the top of the stacked lightweight division.
For Nakatani, this will be his second fight since suffering his only loss to Teofimo Lopez. The 32-year-old boxer is a +800 betting underdog as of Saturday.
Nakatani will be looking to get the victory on foreign soil and pull off the enormous upset.
Nakatani is also a former OPBF Lightweight champion and made 11 straight defenses of that belt. The OFBF title signifies that a boxer is the best in the Asian and Pacific region.
In his last fight, Nakatani defeated Félix Verdejo to win the vacant WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title, but that title won’t be on the line in this upcoming bout.
Despite being the massive underdog, Nakatani maintains an advantage with his five-and-a-half-inch reach, which could work in his favor when trying to create distance with Lomachenko.
Both boxers gave Teofimo Lopez, the unified lightweight champion, the most difficult fights of his career, and now they will be face-to-face in the ring on June 26.
Despite what the betting odds say, this is an intriguing fight in the lightweight division. Lomachenko will be facing a boxer who is long, fast, and frequently utilizes his reach advantage to deliver some impressive lead jabs and hooks. Nakatani faces one of the most crafty and technically sound boxers in the world, and will bring a lot to the ring for this fight.
To watch Lomachenko vs. Nakatani, tune in this Saturday, June 26th on ESPN+ at 10pm EST.