This coming weekend in Las Vegas we'll get the chance to see the debut of Subaru Murata (0-0) [村田昴] and the next bout of Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義], who takes on Ukrainian sensation Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10).
Today it was reported by the Japanese press that both Nakatani and Murata had had their medical check yesterday and both fighters came through the checks with no issues at all, including clean PCR tests.
The two men also spoke to the press, with Nakatani revealing he had shaken the jet lag and that he was feeling really good. He explained he wasn't tired, and that things were different in regards to the media media to how things are in Japan.
Murata on the other hand spoke about how he was relieved his tests came back normal and also spoke about how he was getting used to the heat in Las Vegas., though did state it was still really hot.
(Image credit - Teiken)
Earlier today Japanese pairing Subaru Murata (0-0) [村田昴] and Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義] departed from Japan for their bouts next weekend.
Before leaving the two men spoke to the Japanese media.
Nakatani, who will be battling Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10), stated that the preparation he's had for the bout, at Teiken, has been perfect and that he's expecting a good fight when he steps in with the highly talented Ukrainian standout.
As for Murata, who will be taking on Keven Monroy (1-1, 1), he explain that he's departing ahead of his debut and that he was looking to produce the result that he and his team had been training for, before thanking everyone for their support.
The main bout, with Nakatani and Lomachenko, will be aired next weekend on ESPN+ in the US, WOWOW in Japan and Sky Sports.
(Image credit -Teiken)
Earlier today Teiken announced that former Japanese amateur standout Subaru Murata (0-0) [村田昴] was set to make his professional boxing debut on June 26th as part of a Top Rank promoted card headlined by his stablemate Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義] battling Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10).
Sadly the bout it's self isn't a particularly tough looking one for Murata, who went a very solid 68-12 in the unpaid ranks, but it's going to be nice to see what he can do as he takes on Keven Monroy (1-1, 1) in a scheduled 4 rounder at Super Bantamweight.
As an amateur Murata was a real standout. He competed for the Nihon University team, won the 2018 All Japan Championships, won the "Excellent Fighter" award in the annual awards, and also competed in the Youth World championships.
Monroy on the other hand is a 21 year old who debuted in March of this year, winning his debut at the legendary Big Punch Arena, before losing his second bout, this past June. It is, by far, the biggest bout of his professional career, and one that he'll enter as a very, very clear under-dog in.
In just over 2 weeks we'll see Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義] battle against Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10) on a major Top Rank show. Today, ahead of that bout, a confident Nakatani took part in an online press conference and spoke about his game plan and his plans for the future.
It as revealed that to prepare for Lomachenko the Japanese giant has been sparring with former amateur stabndout Kenji Fujita (1-0, 1) [藤田健児], who Nakatani stated was the "closest" style wise to Lomachenko that he could get. It appears that Fujita has been used as a sparring partner due to hi footwork, size and southpaw stance. Interesting Nakatani also revealed that Lomachenko's footwork, movement and skills inside are strengths for the Ukrainian, so Nakatani wants to limit the inside fighting as much as possible.
It was also noted that Nakatanid doesn't feel Lightweight is Lomachenko's best weight class, and that he has a huge advantag in terms of size. There is around 12cm (about 5") height difference between the two men, and it's clear that if Nakatani can get his jab into play he could really frustrate Lomachenko.
Whilst Fujita has been the main sparring partner he's not the only guy that Nakatani has been learning from. He's also been speaking to former Lomachenko opponent Jorge Linares (47-6, 29), who has been giving advice about Lomachenko, and some areas to take specific counter measures.
When it was brought up that Lomachenko was regarded as one of the best boxers, Nakatani notably mentioned that his two previous bouts in the US both saw him entering as a major under-dog, and proving himself as a very capable fighter, referencing his bouts with Teofimo Lopez and Felix Verdejo.
Nakatani also stated that if he wins here, it'll lead to him getting a world title fight. It seems clear he is focused on doing just that and earning himself a shot at a world title.
One other thing that was confirmed was that he would be departing Japan on June 19th, the same day that fellow Japanese star Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17) [井上 尚弥] defends his Bantamweight world titles against Michael Dasmarinas (30-2-1, 20).
Earlier today Keith Idec, writing for Boxingscene, broke the news that unbeaten Kazakh Middleweight contender Janibek Alimkhanuly (9-0, 5) [Жанибек Алимханулы] was set for another step up in class in June as he takes on former WBA Middleweight champion Rob Brant (26-2, 18) as part of the Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13) [中谷正義] battle against Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko (14-2, 10), on June 26th.
The unbeaten Alimkhanuly took some time to settle into the professional boxing ranks, and through his first 6 bouts looks like an amateur trying to adapt to the professional style of boxing. In his last 3 bouts however he has really developed and come good, so to speak. In that 3 fight run he has stopped Stuart McLellan, Albert Onolunose and Gonzalo Gaston Coria, scoring one of the KO's of 2020 with the win against Coria.
Through most of 2020 Alimkhnauly called out the supposedly avoided Demetrius Andrade, but was ignored, however it seems clear that Alimkhnuly and his team are actively looking to make a point and a win over Brant would see him do that. In fact a win over Brant would see Alimkhanuly score his biggest win to date, and move to within touching distance of a world title fight.
As we write this the Kazakh is already world ranked by the WBO (#2), WBC (#6) and IBF (#9), so he can clearly smell the taste of a world title.
Brant on the other hand is best known for his massive upset win over Ryota Murata [村田 諒太] in 2018, to win the WBA "regular" Middleweight title. After beating Murata he managed 2 defenses of the belt, before being stopped in a rematch, in Japan in 2019, and losing the belt. Since then he has fought just once, beating Vitalii Kopylenko last August.
Despite being a former WBA "regular" champion Brant is currently unranked by any of the world title bodies, which seems very odd, especially in the somewhat shallow Middleweight division.
The bout will be streamed live on ESPN+ as part of the aforementioned Nakatani Vs Lomachneko broadcast and should make for an excellent chief support bout between two men each fightign to make a point and move towards a huge fight later in the year.
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