Masayoshi Nakatani Rises Off The Canvas To Overpower Felix Verdejo!

Masayoshi Nakatani Stops Felix Verdejo In Nine

Masayoshi Nakatani
Masayoshi Nakatani

Masayoshi Nakatani Stops Felix Verdejo In Nine


Rising from two early knockdowns, Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) stormed back to stop Felix Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) in nine rounds at the MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas, Nevada in what turned out to be a terrific battle of attrition.

Verdejo got off to an explosive start as 65-seconds into the opening round, he put Nakatani down with a beautiful left-right combination flush on the chin. He tried going for the finish, but the Japanese warrior showed his toughness and survived the rounds.

From there, the 27-year-old from San Juan, Puerto Rico settled into a nice boxing groove in rounds two and three. He began to pump the jab and continued to land a home for the straight right-hands down the middle.

Nakatani is as willing as they come and is on the attack. The problem is, he fights in a straight line with his head up. Yes, he was marching forward looking for a fight. However, the faster and sharper Verdejo was catching him with power counter-punches at every opportunity. It was the sharpshooting that produced a second knockdown with 1:45 to go in the fourth round as Verdejo caught Nakatani with a picture-perfect counter right-hand to the chin.

TIDE TURNING MOMENT

The middle rounds saw a sudden change in momentum for Nakatani. He stunned Verdejo with a right-hand to the jaw at the midway point of round seven. The 31-year-old from Osaka, Japan continued the pressure. In round eight, he found a home for his powerful right-hand.

With 1 second into the ninth, a fatigued and unsteady Verdejo went down from a Nakatani power jab. Verdejo rose but was in very bad shape. A follow-up overhand right hand put Verdejo down for a second time in the round. Referee Celestino Ruiz had seen enough and called a halt to the fight with 1:15 to go in the round.

This was a riveting win for Nakatani. His chin, toughness, and durability proved to be the difference. After the bout, he said he would like to avenge his sole defeat as a pro against current unified IBF/WBA ‘Super’ and WBO World Lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs).

For Verdejo, this is a devastating loss. He was once hailed as a can’t-miss prospect destined to become a world champion. Now he has to look in the mirror and evaluate his future in the sport.

By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Michael Wilson 568 Articles
Michael is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a writer/contributor for 3kingsboxing.com.