‘I'm waiting’: Lomachenko makes stunning comeback by DISMANTLING Nakatani and sends message to Lopez over rematch (VIDEO)
Lomachenko fought like a man possessed and with a point to prove from the first bell.
Advised by his promotor Top Rank, and a good slice of pundits and fans, to move back down to 130 lbs after being soundly beaten by Teofimo Lopez last year and losing his lightweight belts in the process, the Ukrainian and his father have been stubborn in their quest to return to the top of a talent-packed division where he is often the smaller man.
Again he gave up a considerable size and reach advantage to his Japanese foe, but navigated this through a series of crisply delivered overhand shots delivered from wild angles.
Frequently clinching Lomachenko which led to a clash of heads at one point in the proceedings, Nakatani paid for not trying to move the fight along when a frustrated Lomachenko left off a right hand, left hook combination that dropped his opponent in the fifth round.
Weathering the storm in the sixth, Nakatani showed heart through a difficult seventh round before the referee had seen enough in the ninth and halted the action when a series of blows snapped his head back and were left unanswered.
Sealing his comeback in brutal, vintage fashion, 'The Matrix' also sent a message to Lopez by ending a mutual acquaintance 'The Takeover' struggled with in 2019, despite winning a wide unanimous decision on the cards.
In his post-fight interview, Loma was clearly pleased with how the evening went and made his intentions clear moving forward.
"All the strategies that we developed with my team [found success]," said the 33-year-old.
"I reached all my goals. I won, and now I’m back on track. Everybody saw how I won this fight, and everybody is waiting for the rematch [with Lopez], so let’s make a rematch."
"He has a fight in the future with [George] Kambosos [in August], but how about after? In the beginning of next year. December, January, February? I am waiting.
"I’m happy about this if they are ready to give me a rematch after all I’ve done after this fight. I am happy about this opportunity," finished Lomachenko.
Lopez and his father Teofimo Sr. had previously insisted that Lomachenko was yesterday's news and voiced no interest in a rematch.
They considered the job done last October, when the youngster of Honduran descent dethroned a man considered at the time the sport's in-form fighter.
But reports in recent weeks have claimed that the pair are warming towards the chance to shut Lomachenko up for good in a second meeting, which was confirmed by a Teofimo Sr. in attendance in Vegas to ESPN.
Lopez has shown a desire to move up to 140 lbs after the Kambosos bout too, though, to challenge recently-crowned, undisputed light welterweight ruler Josh Taylor.
But with Taylor also keen to step up and test the waters at 147 lbs and take on welterweight pound-for-pound candidate Terence Crawford, Lopez Sr. believes he can persuade his son to accept a rematch with Lomachenko at Madison Square Garden for the IBF, WBA, WBO, and The Ring straps.
"After this performance, I think that the public wants to see this fight," Teofimo Sr admitted.
"I think I could convince my son to fight him again. I think after Kambosos, it could be made. It’s gonna be the biggest fight in the world, and we can make it happen in December in Madison Square Garden.
"My son’s record in Madison Square Garden is 6-0 with six knockouts. You already know that. So why can’t we make it happen there? But I gotta talk to him."
Bob Arum sees nothing stopping a Teofimo-Lomachenko rematch if Lopez handles business against his mandatory challenger. pic.twitter.com/KPirbSq4nw— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) June 27, 2021
Separately, just before that, Top Rank chief Bob Arum confirmed that there was growing interest from the Lopez camp to run back the previous encounter.
"I know they are [interested], because when [Teofimo Jr.] signed his new contract at Top Rank at my house before he came down with Covid, he said, ‘No problem,’" Arum revealed.
"It’s a question of being compensated, and that’s the job of the promoter. I’ll get them both well-compensated and we’ll do this fight. Based on [Lomachenko’s] performance tonight, it’ll be a really different kind of fight. But I can’t wait to see it.
"I really can’t wait to see it!," Arum signed off.
With all these fighters - Lomachenko, Lopez, Taylor and Crawford - on his books, megafights between them should be easy for Arum to make in-house.