Junto Nakatani made a successful first defense of his WBO flyweight title tonight in Tucson, Ariz., stopping former junior flyweight titlist Angel Acosta in the fourth round because of a broken nose.
Acosta (22-3, 21 KO) pretty clearly got his nose broken in the opening round. The nose bled a lot, and with blood loss like that, plus the fact that the heat is brutal outdoors in Tucson tonight, and maybe the specific commission rules, referee Rocky Burke made it quite clear from the second round that the fight could be stopped if the nose didn’t improve.
As the ringside physician made quite clear, the nose had no chance of being improved so long as Nakatani (22-0, 17 KO) kept punching him in the face, which Nakatani did. And the nose did not improve. They gave Acosta chances, and in typical Acosta fashion he threw some shots and tried to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but Nakatani was out-boxing him and landing the better shots, too. The fight wound up stopped early in the fourth round.
“I caught him in the first round right in the nose, and I was able to use my pace to fight him, so that worked out really well,” Nakatani said through an interpreter. “When they first checked his nose, I knew (it was broken).”
Asked if he felt he sent a message in his U.S. debut, Nakatani said, “I think so. Everybody here was excited and I thought it was a good win. At least I thought it was. I noticed he was very aggressive, so I focused on that and fought him the way I should.”
“I want to unify the titles,” Nakatani said, making plain what he wants to do next.
- Xander Zayas UD-6 Jose Luis Sanchez: A very valuable six rounds for Zayas, the 19-year-old Puerto Rican prospect fight out of Florida, who looks like he’s going to leave 147 behind and focus on 154, feeling he’ll probably grow out of welterweight by the time he’s ready for bigger fights. I think that’s smart, and this had a 152 lb limit to test it out. Sanchez (11-2-1, 4 KO) gave Zayas (10-0, 7 KO) exactly the sort of fight the kid needed without it being too much. Scores were 60-53, 60-53, and 60-54 for Zayas, but Sanchez did some decent work here and there, showed some holes in Zayas’ defense that need to be addressed, and stood up well to his power and pressure even in nasty 100-degree heat. There’s no big rush on Zayas, he’s got years to keep developing, and this is the type of fight he can use to make himself better.
- Lindolfo Delgado TKO-2 Miguel Zamudio: Extremely easy work for the 26-year-old junior welterweight prospect Delgado, who goes to 13-0 (12 KO) with a wipeout win over club veteran Miguel Zamudio, who falls to 45-17-1 (28 KO). This was just a total mismatch, Delgado was battering Zamudio from the opening bell, and there was really nothing the 30-year-old B-side could do about it at all. Zamudio staggered to his corner after the first round — it is legitimately 100 degrees in Tucson and they’re outdoors, so the heat is helping nobody, but it was mostly that Delgado was tagging him at will. The corner probably should have stopped it, but they let the vet out for the second, and Delgado put him down, then finished him off with a few more shots, forcing referee Robert Velez’s hand at 50 seconds of the second round.
- Rene Tellez Giron KO-7 Eduardo Garza: You may recall Giron (16-1, 10 KO) from his 2019 upset win over Karlos Balderas. This marks three in a row for him, and post-fight, Tim Bradley even advised Balderas to stay away from a rematch with Giron, calling the 22-year-old Mexican “sneaky good.” I think Tim’s right, too; while Giron may not ever develop into a serious world title contender, he is a tough, gritty fighter who isn’t afraid to mix it up, works well to the body, and gets himself into the right position to do good work to the body. Garza (15-5-1, 8 KO)
- Omar Aguilar KO-2 Carlos Manuel Portillo: The 22-year-old Aguilar is now 22-0 (21 KO) as he trounces past Portillo (22-4, 17 KO) in this one. Portillo’s record isn’t as good as it looks — his previous biggest fight was a KO-1 loss to Eduard Troyanovsky in 2017, and he was also stopped in one by Jean Carlos Torres in his last fight, which was Nov. 2019. This is his fourth loss in his last five outings. Portillo was down once late in the first round, then two times quickly in the second and finished off at 0:55 of round two. Aguilar is one to watch, a young fighter at 140 who has some natural power for sure and good size for the division, with a body that will probably fill out more and take him to 147 in time. This was his U.S. debut, and the native of Ensenada made it a good one.