Lomachenko Returns Saturday Night Against Nakatani in Lightweight Main Event

Former pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko is ready for the next chapter. Eight months after losing an undisputed lightweight title match to Teofimo Lopez, “Loma” returns Saturday night in a 12-round lightweight bout against Japanese contender Masayoshi Nakatani at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images)

In the 10-round middleweight co-feature, undefeated sensation Janibek “Qazaq Style” Alimkhanuly will fight former world champion Rob “Bravo” Brant.

Both fights will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, with undercard bouts set to begin on ESPN+ at 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT.

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At the final press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Vasiliy Lomachenko

“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!”

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Masayoshi Nakatani

“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.”

- Latest Vasiliy Lomachenko

- Latest Vasiliy Lomachenko

“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!”

Rob Brant

“I’m feeling amazing. It’s never a surprise being the underdog. I’m looking forward to it. You have to take the risks. I have no problem with being the underdog.”

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“I learned a lot of patience and guidance from my trainer, {Brian} ‘BoMac’ McIntyre. I have always been known as a high-volume boxer, but with BoMac I have learned and developed a lot of the patience.”

“This is Top Rank. Everyone wants to be at the highest level, and I want to prove that I belong here. My focus is 100 percent on beating Janibek on Saturday.”

Janibek Alimkhanuly

“This fight is very important for me. I’m 100 percent ready, and Saturday night I’m going to show what ‘Qazaq Style’ is all about. Very soon I’ll be fighting as the main event.”

“Three years ago, I started training with Buddy McGirt. I like him a lot. He is looking to add more tools to the style that I already have. We are already looking to win a world title together.”

SATURDAY, June 26, 2021

ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

  • Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani, 12 rounds, lightweight
  • Janibek Alimkhanuly vs. Rob Brant, 10 rounds, Alimkhanuly’s WBO Global and WBC Continental Americas Middleweight Titles

ESPN+, 7:15 p.m. ET/4:15 p.m. PT

  • Giovani Santillan vs. Cecil McCalla, 10/8 rounds, welterweight
  • Robert Rodriguez vs. Luis Fernando Saavedra, 6 rounds, bantamweight
  • Guido Vianello vs. Marlon Williams, 4 rounds, heavyweight
  • Floyd Diaz vs. Jaime Jasso, 4 rounds, bantamweight
  • Subaru Murata vs. Keven Monroy, 4 rounds, junior featherweight
  • DeMichael Harris vs. Jonatan Hernan Godoy, 4 rounds, lightweight

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