Junto Nakatani On American Debut: “I Am Determined To Pass This Test”

Junto Nakatani Determined To Make His Mark In His American Boxing Debut

WBO flyweight champion Junto Nakatani leaving his mouthpiece visible
Junto Nakatani

Junto Nakatani Determined To Make His Mark In His American Boxing Debut

Junto Nakatani (21-0, 16 KOs) is days away from making his American debut. On September 10 at the Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona he makes the first defense of the WBO world flyweight title against mandatory challenger Angel Acosta (22-2, 21 KOs).

His team is cutting no shorts in terms of preparation. According to source NotiFight, the champ has been in the States since early August. On August 21, Nakatani arrived in Los Angeles, where he’s been training with trusted coach Daisuke Watabe and local trainer Rudy Hernandez.


Touted as the next potential star by the Japanese boxing press, he won the vacant title with an eight-round KO over Giemel Magramo in November of 2020. Many anticipated that Magramo would be a tough fight. Nakatani handled him with surprising ease.

In observing the defending champ, he has a habit of making things look easy. The skills are obvious. Well-schooled with the ability to transition from offense to defense and vice-a-versa, he’s smooth like butter in the ring.

The 23-year-old from Inabe-gun, Mie, Japan is expected to undergo a mighty test against Acosta. He is a former WBO world champ at 108-pounds and is arguably the hardest puncher in the lower-weight divisions. On paper, he appears to be far and away, the toughest opponent yet. However, Nakatani says he is ready and plans to leave the ring with his hand raised in victory.

“I am determined to respond to the expectation of the people who offered me this brilliant opportunity for me to be able to perform in the U.S. ring for my first title defense.”


With the fight airing on ESPN+, he views Acosta as a path towards becoming a global figure. If successful against Acosta, he has visions of a unification bout against WBC 112 pound champ Julio Cesar Martinez.

From the moment he won the title, Nakatani has expressed a strong desire to fight abroad. He wants to follow in the footsteps of countryman and unified IBF/WBA ‘super’ world bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue and make a second home in the States. Step one begins with defeating Acosta. Can the champ make easy work of what seems to be a very tough upcoming battle? If so, he will state his case as the future great one from the land of the orient.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.1957 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.