Mas no mas: Lomachenko beats Nakatani in nine rounds
SAN DIEGO, Calif., June 26, 2021 – The pound for pound great version of Vasiliy Lomachenko of Ukraine (14-2, 11 KOs) came back as if nothing had gotten in his way over the last year, demoralizing Masayoshi Nakatani of Japan (19-2, 13 KOs) as he has so many other opponents in his impressive career. Lomachenko stopped Nakatani via relentless pounding at 1:48 of the ninth round. It was the first stoppage loss in Nakatani’s career.
Lomachenko made the unexpected loss to Teofimo Lopez Jr. fade away like a Matrix hallucination. He disarmed Nakatani, taking away his offense and blasting through his defense with superb footwork and precise punching at angles, winning him admirers around the world.
“I’m happy because I won,” said Lomachenko. “All the strategies we developed with my team, I reached all my goals, and now I’m back on track. Because of his arm length, I couldn’t be first. So the strategy was to counterpunch and counterattack. The strategy we developed brought us the victory,” Lomachenko crediting his father and trainer Anatoly.
Nakatani lost to Lopez Jr. but gave him all he could handle. He made no inroads against Lomachenko. This is his real genius, knocking the will to win out of his opponents before he knocks them off their feet. Lomachenko scored his first knockdown at the end of the fifth round. Nakatani claimed it was a slip, but referee Celestino Ruiz wasn’t buying it.
Lessons learned by Lomachenko
Lomachenko wasn’t going to let Nakatani off the hook in the sixth round. He hurt Nakatani with several big left hands, snapping his head back. Any reach advantage Nakatani had before the opening bell was erased by Lomachenko. Nakatani escaped to the center of the ring, with Lomachenko circling. Nakatani was bleeding from the nose and mouth.
By the ninth round, Nakatani’s eye was badly swollen over his previously broken orbital bone. He had been pounded relentlessly and fast lost steam. Lomachenko wasn’t going to let him off the hook, pounding him until referee Ruiz was compelled to stop the fight. Lomachenko landed 59% of his power punches, an impressive performance.
Lomachenko had to contend with a forehead cut caused by a headbutt early in the first round. Cutman Mike Bazzel kept it under control and a non-factor. “I want to say a big thank you to my cutman, he’s a professional, and he helped me win this fight.”
Lopez Loma 2 looks like a reality
Now Lomachenko has one focus: to score the rematch with Teofimo Lopez Jr. and get his belts back. It seemed improbable before the fight. Lomachenko willed it into existence. He made his case for the rematch for an audience of one. Watching ringside was father and trainer Teofimo Sr.
“Everybody saw how I won. Everybody has been waiting for the rematch. So let’s make the rematch,” said Lomachenko. “I understand he has a fight in the future with (George) Kambosas. But how about in the future, early next year. January, February. I’m waiting.”
Bob Arum, Lomachenko’s promoter, and Teofimo Lopez Sr. stood together after the fight, all smiles. “That fight when we get it done will be huge!” said Arum. “I think the public wants to see this fight. I think I can convince my son to take the rematch,” said Lopez Sr., stating his preference for Madison Square Garden as the venue.
The Lopez Jr. vs. Kambosas was originally scheduled to occur last week, but Lopez Jr. tested positive for COVID-19. The fight is now expected to be rescheduled for mid-September.
Qazaq Style gets it done for Janibek Alimkhanuly
Janibek Alimkhanuly of Kazakhstan (or the now preferred spelling Qazaqstan (10-0, 6 KOs) dominated former champion Rob Brant of St. Paul, Minnesota (26-3, 18 KOs) in a disappointing one-sided fight.
Alimkhanuly scored a knockdown at the start of round six when Brant’s right leg buckled. It was never steady again under him. Brant landed only one punch in the sixth round and just didn’t have anything Saturday. Trainer Brian McIntyre finally stopped the bout for Brant’s wellbeing after eight rounds. Alimkhanuly landed 65 power punches. Brant landed just nine.
Alimkhanuly made every round look-alike, dominating with left jabs and hooks, throwing Brant back. He did not need to change since it was working for him. Brant never adjusted his approach. Trainer Brian McIntyre normally keeps up a steady stream of instructions, but he went silent.
The former Olympian passed his test with an A-plus. His partnership with trainer Buddy McGirt has paid off, and now Alimkhanuly should get the middleweight title shot he wants.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalism covering the Sweet Science for Communities Digital News based in San Diego, California. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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