Vasiliy Lomachenko’s return fight has been rumored, and now it’s officially set, as Lomachenko will face Masayoshi Nakatani in a lightweight fight on ESPN.
Mark Kriegel reported on tonight’s ESPN broadcast that the fight is official for June 26 at the Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas. That will put the fight head-to-head with the Gervonta Davis vs Mario Barrios PPV from Showtime.
Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KO) hasn’t fought since his Oct. 2020 loss to Teofimo Lopez, after which he underwent shoulder surgery. The 33-year-old Ukrainian southpaw is still the No. 2 man in the 135 lb division, and should certainly not be written off for losing to Lopez, who proved to be the real deal and everything he had said he was.
But Nakatani (19-1, 13 KO) is a dangerous opponent, too. He’s a tall lightweight, standing just over 5’11”, and will have notable height and reach advantages on Lomachenko, a natural featherweight. He gave Lopez a very solid 12 rounds in 2019, then came back in Dec. 2020 to rally and stop Felix Verdejo in the ninth round.
This is a fight I think pretty much everyone likes on paper. It’s not a gimme “comeback” fight for Lomachenko; he’ll be favored, but Nakatani presents unique challenges and is tough as all hell, too, a fringe top 10 guy at 135 who always comes to fight. This could be a good one.