Vasyl Lomachenko says Masayoshi Nakatani is his 'perfect opponent' as he makes his long-awaited return to the ring this weekend following a lengthy absence.
Ukraine's former three-division world champion Lomachenko (14-2, 10 KOs), 33, had previously called out the likes of Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia but will now face former lightweight champion Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist, who is the No. 13-ranked fighter in GIVEMESPORT's 2021 pound-for-pound rankings, is rebuilding his career after a shock defeat to American upstart Teofimo Lopez Jr in 2020 and is making a comeback to the ring.
When asked why Nakatani got the call to be his challenger, Lomachenko said to BoxingScene.com: “What inspired me to take this fight is the fact that I just lost all of my titles.
“I have to start from scratch and wanted to face a top contender. I didn’t want a [hand-picked] opponent.
"This guy gave Teofimo Lopez a very tough fight and I have prepared well for his challenge.”
Lomachenko, who won the vacant WBC lightweight title by decision against Luke Campbell at London's O2 Arena in August 2019, insists he is not overlooking his experienced opponent.
Japanese Nakatani, 32, has only fought twice in the last three years but knocked out disgraced boxer Felix Verdejo back in December.
A crowd of just shy of 5,000 is expected at a venue generally accustomed to hosting live music gigs in accordance with Nevada regulations.
“He is strong, very tall and very long arms,” he added. “He has experience at the top level, as he showed in a [competitive] fight with Lopez and the way he was able to beat [Felix] Verdejo.
"This is the perfect challenge for me.
"I’ve always aimed to face the highest level of competition.”News Now - Sport News