Fast-rising lightweight contender Teofimo Lopez returns on July 19th at MGM National Harbor, Oxon Hill, Maryland. Ranked No4 by the IBF, Lopez takes on Japan's Masayoshi Nakatani who is ranked one place higher in the New Jersey-based organisation's rankings in the hope of facing champion Richard Commey later in the year if he is victorious.
Brooklyn native Lopez boxed on the April 20th Madison Square Garden bill headlined by the WBO welterweight title fight between Terence Crawford and Amir Khan. Lopez knocked out Finland's Edis Tatli in the 5th round with a right hand to the body that poleaxed the European champion. Tatli could not compete with Lopez's skill set and to be honest, was completely overmatched.
Team Lopez is in a hurry to win a world title which is understandable due to the ease with which he has disposed of highly ranked Tatli and former champion Diego Magdaleno in his last 2 outings. Champion Commey will be another step up in levels if they meet as expected at a later date, but one the big-hitting 21-year-old looks capable of taking.
Nakatani from Osaka, Japan has an impressive 18-0 record with 12 Ko's but little is known about the OPBF lightweight champion as he has never boxed as a professional outside his native Japan.
It is always a pleasure to watch Lopez, he is a no-nonsense, entertaining boxer-puncher that has the potential to become a huge star in boxing. What his team must do is keep him away from Ukrainian Vasiliy Lomachenko until such time as the P4P No1 has aged and is no longer at the height of his powers, then Lopez can possibly become a multi-weight titleholder.