Boxing: Vasiliy Lomachenko returns Saturday night to battle Masayoshi Nakatani in Lightweight main event

boxing news vasyl lomachenko
Vasyl Lomanchenko will take on Masayoshi Nakatani in a fight Saturday night at the Virgin Hotel.

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.

Vasiliy Lomachenko underwent shoulder surgery after his bout with Lopez, an injury he suffered during the fight and which he said prohibited him from throwing his lead right hook.

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.

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

Vasiliy Lomachenko excited to be back in ring

Vasiliy Lomachenko boxing
Photo: Mark Robinson of Matchroom Boxing

“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!” 

Masayoshi Nakatani says its his biggest fight in his career

“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.” 

“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 surprised to be underdog

“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.” 

“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 is 100 percent ready

“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.” 

Watch Vasiliy Lomachenk vs/ Masayoshi Natatani on ESPN-plus

The Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Masayoshi Nakatani fight will be broadcast on ESPN-plus, beginning at 7 p.m. (Pacific time) with the co-main event of Brant vs. Alimkhanuly.