How Will Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani Affect the Lightweight Division?

Published 03/25/2021, 6:00 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NY – DECEMBER 9: MANDATORY CREDIT Bill Tompkins/Getty Images Vasyl Lomachenko ( aqua blue and yellow trunks ) defeats Guillermo Rigondeaux ( purple and gold trunks ) by RTD in the 6th round. Madison Square Garden on December 9, 2017 in New York City. Lomachenko in victory. (Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)


Former lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko is all set for a stellar return to the ring in the coming months. The Ukrainian has recovered from his injury and is in training for his next fight. So what would happen if he faced Japanese boxer, Masayoshi Nakatani?

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All rumors point towards Lomachenko taking on Nakatani for his return. Moreover, even his promoter Bob Arum confirmed that they are trying to make it happen. However, will this contest affect the exciting lightweight division?

OXNARD, CA – APRIL 24: Vasyl Lomachenko works out during a media workout on April 24, 2018 in Oxnard, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

On paper, the former champion has no dearth of opponents. However, the reality is such that none of the big fights will happen. Therefore, he will have to fight relatively low-profile Nakatani in what may be a smart move for the Ukrainian.

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Lomachenko has expressed his desire to reclaim his belts and Nakatani ranks in the top ten in three of the four major bodies. Therefore, if he can beat another ranked opponent, he could push himself into a mandatory position for one of the champions.

Given his success in the sport, Lomachenko still ranks in the top five in all the sanctioning bodies. However, none of the champions seem to want to make the fight happen. Therefore, his best chance of getting a title bout against the current champions is to become mandatory and guarantee a title fight.

READ: Can Ryan Garcia Defeat the Best at Lightweight?

Who could Vasyl Lomachenko face if he beats Masayoshi Nakatani?

Nakatani ranks highest in the WBO rankings, and Teofimo Lopez is the champion in the division. Moreover, we have seen that Lopez has honored his mandatory obligation by taking on George Kambosos Jr. And since he claimed he would not give ‘Loma’ a rematch, becoming mandatory seems like the Ukrainian’s best shot.

Also, the former champion has engaged in a fiery war of words with Devin Haney over the past few weeks. He wants the fight and is ready to make it happen. However, Ryan Garcia is the WBC mandatory and is yet to fight Haney.

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Thus, if the Lomachenko vs. Nakatani fight goes ahead, it would have a lot riding on it. If the Ukrainian wins, it will all but guarantee him another shot at the title. However, given how none of the top fighters are fighting each other, it looks unlikely that it will happen.

What do you think of Vasyl Lomachenko fighting Masayoshi Nakatani? What effect do you think it will have on the division? 

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Leonardo Carvalho

811 articles

Leonardo Carvalho is a Boxing Writer for EssentiallySports. Before working as a boxing web journalist, Leonardo dabbled in roles ranging from an SEO specialist to a Chegg expert. Alongside his current role, Leonardo runs a YouTube channel where he combines his passion for fitness with sports.

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