Vasiliy Lomachenko makes his long-awaited return on Saturday night when he clashes with Masayoshi Nakatani in Las Vegas.
Lomachenko has not fought since losing his Lightweight world titles to Teofimo Lopez on points in Sin City over eight months ago and now meets Nakatani who also went the distance with his conquerer in 2019 – his only professional defeat.
The Ukrainian great suffered just a second professional defeat to Lopez, undergoing shoulder surgery in the aftermath and is aiming to return to the summit of the 135lbs division and plaudits as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Nakatani bounced back from defeat to ‘The Takeover’ with a career best victory over Felix Verdejo in December to claim the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Lightweight title and the Japanese native is now ranked at #5 with the WBO.
A win for three-weight world champion, Lomachenko could set up a rematch with Lopez, who is set to defend his belts against George Kambosos Jr in a rescheduled showdown in August after their bout, which was set to take place this past Saturday was shelved after the 23-year-old tested positive for COVID-19.
The double Olympic gold medalist is ranked in the top five of every governing body and the 33-year-old could also look towards a fight with WBC champion, Devin Haney if he is successful on his return to action.
Lomachenko vs Nakatani – Date and Venue
- Lomachenko and Nakatani will collide on Saturday 26 June at the Virgin Hotels, Las Vegas – formerly the Hard Rock Hotel – which staged Josh Taylor’s victory over Jose Ramirez to become undisputed Super Lightweight champion, Shakur Stevenson’s win over Jeremia Nakathila and Naoya Inoue’s stoppage over Michael Dasmarinas on Saturday.
Lomachenko vs Nakatani – How To Watch It
- The fight card will be broadcast on ESPN+ in the USA and on Sky Sports in the UK and Ireland.
Lomachenko vs Nakatani – Start time
- Coverage of the main set of fights is set to begin from 10pm ET / 3am BST.
Lomachenko vs Nakatani – Last Three Fights
Teofimo Lopez bt Vasiliy Lomachenko – UD
Vasiliy Lomachenko bt Luke Campbell – UD
Vasiliy Lomachenko bt Anthony Crolla – fourth round KO
Masayoshi Nakatani bt Felix Verdejo – ninth round TKO
Teofimo Lopez bt Masayoshi Nakatani – UD
Masayoshi Nakatani bt Hurricane Futa – fourth round TKO
- Zhanibek Alimkhanuly vs Rob Brant – Middleweight
- Giovani Santillan vs Cecil McCalla – Welterweight
- Robert Rodriguez vs Luis Fernando Saavedra – Bantamweight
- Guido Vianello vs Marlon Williams – Heavyweight
- Floyd Diaz vs Jaime Jasso – Bantamweight
- Subaru Murata vs Kevin Monroy – Super Bantamweight
- DeMichael Harris vs TBA – Lightweight
Press conference quotes
“I can’t wait to be back in the ring. I’m very excited and I want to show my best skills. I want to prove to myself, my family, my friends, my team, who I am in the ring.”
“He is a tough guy. He has the height and the reach. I think he is a very good boxer. That’s why he was my choice as an opponent.”
“It’s great to have fans [in the crowd]. They push us in the ring. They give us energy.”
“I have a fight this Saturday, and after that, we can talk about a rematch. I want it!”
“A fellow Japanese fighter [Inoue last week] having a great performance is very motivating for me.”
“This is a fight that I have to win and that I want to win.”
“When this fight came up, I felt that it is the biggest fight of my career. But getting the fight doesn’t mean anything. I must win for this fight to mean something. I’m going to win!”