Home Boxing News Vasiliy Lomachenko ready to shine against Masayoshi Nakatani, says Tim Bradley

Vasiliy Lomachenko ready to shine against Masayoshi Nakatani, says Tim Bradley

Vasiliy Lomachenko and Masayoshi Nakatani. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Lightweight contender Masayoshi Nakatani 19-1 (13) is going to be cut down to size by former three-weight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko 14-2 (10) at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

That’s the word coming from former world champion turned ESPN boxing analyst Timothy Bradley, who says he doesn’t expect size to be a much of a factor as skill in the fight.

At almost six-foot-tall Japan’s Nakatani, 32, towered over the 5-foot-7 Lomachenko at today’s weigh-in.

But the 33-year-old Ukrainian southpaw, who lost his WBA and WBO 135-pound titles to IBF champion Teofimo ‘The Takeover’ Lopez 16-0 (12) on points in his last fight in Las Vegas in October, brings to the ring a much greater pedigree in both the amateur and pro ranks.

Nakatani upset one-time hot prospect Felix ‘El Diamante’ Verdejo 27-2 (17) with a come-from-behind ninth-round knockout in Las Vegas in December.

Bradley sees this as a skill versus will proposition and he is going all-in on Lomachenko to return to the winner’s circle.

“Nakatani is a bigger guy, he is a taller guy, rangier. But he’s not super skilful,” Bradley explained to ESPN. “He has a lot of toughness, which is a gift, an important trait, but while toughness is a part of skill, it’s not everything. Boxing skills are more important than just being a tough guy.

“Nakatani’s a very tough guy, he won’t quit, but he just makes a ton of mistakes inside the ring and doesn’t have much defence.

“That combination is the worst kind of matchup for a guy like Lomachenko. He’s a calculated, technically sound fighter with immense experience and confidence.”

There is a lot on the line for Lomachenko. Going into the Lopez fight he was widely regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound boxers on the planet, but his lacklustre performance in the first half of the fight has left some fans and pundits questioning whether they had rated him too highly.

Lomachenko carried a longstanding shoulder injury into the fight and underwent surgery two days later.

Bradley believes the bitter taste left in his mouth from that loss will spur Lomachenko on to a late-round stoppage.

“Lomachenko believes he’s going to stop Nakatani and I can’t disagree,” Bradley said. “I believe that Lomachenko is eventually going to find a way to make the referee step in and stop the action because he’s going to beat Nakatani up that bad.

“I don’t think Nakatani is going to quit at all. I don’t think his corner is going to stop the fight, just because of who he is as a fighter.

“I think Lomachenko is going to use Nakatani’s mistakes to his advantage, consistently. He’s slowly going to overwhelm Nakatani, closing in tighter and tighter, working him on the inside.

“Lomachenko is going to score an emphatic win – I think it’s going to end late, before the final bell. I’m going to say an eleventh or twelfth round stoppage.”