Nakatani said before the fight that he’d knock Lomachenko out in round six. Instead, he was the fighter who came close to being stopped.
Former three-division world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko showed all the moves that made him a three-time world champion, stopping gutsy Masayoshi Nakatani in round nine at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas, NV Saturday night.
In the opening stanza, Lomachenko, fighting for the first time since being upset by Teofimo Lopez, bobbed and weaved. He landed a number of solid left hands.
Nakatani, who gave Lopez a tough fight in 2019, connected with a right down the middle.
A head butt produced a gash on Lomachenko’s forehead. Nakatani was more aggressive in round two. He ran into an overhand left from Lomachenko. Nakatani went to the body. Lomachenko (15-2,11 KOs) jabbed. He went to the body and head. Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs) tried his jab in round three.
Lomachenko bounced forward. He landed a lead left. He jabbed and fired a three-punch combination. Nakatani looked bewildered. Lomachenko was doing his crafty thing.
In round four, Lomachenko feigned and fired. Nakatani landed a right. Lomachenko let fly with a four-punch combination. He jumped inside and punched. And landed.
Lomachenko’s quickness had Nakatani off balance.
Nakatani tried to jab in round five. Lomachenko kept moving his hands. Nakatani, bleeding from the nose, ate a hard left. A few seconds later a combination put Nakatani down on his sparkly trunks.
The Japanese fighter got up quickly. Nakatani said before the fight that he’d knock out Lomachenko in round six. Instead, he was the fighter who was almost stopped. He fired a right.
Lomachenko used angles to unload hard shots that wobbled Nakatani. He couldn’t miss, but Nakatani is tough. He ate the combinations and stood up.
In round seven, Nakatani tried sitting on the outside and countering. Bad idea. Lomachencko stayed under the punches and returned fire. A double jab and rib shot connected. Nakatani’s right eye was closing. Lomachenko took his time in round eight. He moved left and right.
Lomachenko cracked Nakatani with another left to the head. Nakatani fired a right that Lomachenko blocked. Lomachenko had won every round on his writer’s scorecard.
In round nine, Lomachenko clubbed Nakatani with lefts. A big one hurt Nakatani again. Lomachenko opened up. A straight landed, followed by several combinations landed clean. Nakatani’s body was close to falling. The referee jumped in and stopped the fight.
The time was 1:48 of round nine.