Teofimo Lopez is on the fast track to a world title shot. Standing in his way is a fellow unbeaten fighter, Masayoshi Nakatani, the longtime OBPF lightweight king who represents the stiffest test of Lopez's young career. (photos by Mikey Williams)
Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) and Nakatani (18-0, 12 KOs) will meet Friday at MGM National Harbor in an IBF world title eliminator, with the winner assured a shot at world champion Richard Commey later this year.
The stakes are high, and Lopez, who has never gone past seven rounds as a pro, might have to go significant professional rounds for the first time.
The consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year, Lopez has knocked out his last five opponents, most recently stopping Edis Tatli in five rounds April 20 on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan pay-per-view undercard.