Former lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko returns to the ring for the first time since losing his belts against Teofimo Lopez in October 2020, to face Masayoshi Nakatani in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing card at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas on Saturday (ESPN+, 7:15 p.m. ET).
Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), 33, of Ukraine, had right shoulder surgery after the fight with Lopez, but he’s ready to resume his career and return back to title contention.
At at 5-foot-11 and a half and with a 71-inch reach, Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs), 32, of Japan, who in 2019 took Lopez the distance in a unanimous-decision loss, has a big height and reach advantage over Lomachenko, who is 5-foot-7 and has a 65.5 inch reach. Nakatani’s size was primary what gave Lopez problems in their fight, but Lomachenko asked for this matchup and has a chance to prove he can beat Nakatani faster than Lopez did.
In the co-main event, former middleweight titlist Rob Brant faces Janibek Alimkhanuly in a 10-round battle.
Brant (26-2, 18 KOs), 30, from Saint Paul, Minnesota, won the WBA “regular” title with a unanimous decision victory over Ryota Murata in October 2018 in Las Vegas. He defended the belt once before losing it by second-round TKO to Murata in a rematch in July 2019 in japan.
Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5 KOs), 28, of Zhilandy, Kazakhstan, has won his last three fight by KO, including a second-round stoppage of Gonzalo Gaston Coria inside the MGM Grand bubble in Las Vegas in October.
Where can I watch the Lomachenko-Nakatani fight card on Saturday?
The Lomachenko-Nakatani fight card broadcast will begin at 7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN+. The card includes eight fights. You can watch the entire card live on ESPN+ and on the ESPN App. The main card is expected to start at 10 p.m. ET.
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani, 12 rounds, lightweights
Rob Brant vs. Janibek Alimkhanuly, 10 rounds, middleweights
Giovani Santillan vs. Cecil McCalla, 8 or 10 rounds, welterweights
Robert Rodriguez vs. Luis Fernando Saavedra, 6 rounds, bantamweights
Floyd Diaz vs. Jaime Jasso, 4 rounds, bantamweights
Guido Vianello vs. Marlon Williams, 4 rounds, heavyweights
Subaru Murata vs. Keven Monroy, 4 rounds, junior featherweights
DeMichael Harris vs. Jonatan Hernan Godoy, 4 rounds, lightweights