Vasiliy Lomachenko’s return to the ring appears to be against a fighter that his most recent conqueror Teofimo Lopez once defeated.
Top Rank boss Bob Arum revealed that he’s eyeing a comeback fight for the two-time Olympics gold medalist winner Lomachenko against Masayoshi Nakatani.
“We’ve talked with [Lomachenko], and we’re looking at early summer,” Arum told IFL. “He’s tired of fighting in the bubble. He’s a big ticket seller. We think we could do a big fight in the United States, maybe against the Japanese boy Masayoshi Nakatani. He gave Lopez all he could handle. Nakatani is a really hard puncher.”
Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), a former three-division world champion, will look to position himself near the top of the pound-for-pound list again following his upset, unanimous decision loss to Lopez in October.
The awkward and rugged Nakatani should serve as a tough test.
Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) is coming off a fight of the year contender and come-from-behind, ninth-round technical knockout win over Felix Verdejo in December.
Nakatani was down on the cards 78-72, 78-72 and 77-74 and was knocked down twice before reversing his fate and finishing the Puerto Rican.
Nakatani’s win was a wonderful rebound following his 2019 unanimous decision loss to Lopez.
Both Lomachenko and Nakatani competed at lightweight in their last bout, and both will be coming into their potential meeting nursing serious injuries.
Lomachenko underwent right shoulder surgery following the Lopez fight, while Nakatani suffered a fractured right orbital bone in the fight versus Verdejo.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com