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Where Vasyl Lomachenko and Tank Davis Stand After This Past Weekend...

Photo From: Boxing News 24/7

Okay boxing fans, I finally got something for y’all. There was a lot of boxing to digest over the past few weeks. Bantamweight star Naoya “The Monster” Inoue took care of business with a 3rd round TKO against Michael Dasmarinas, Super Lightweight Josh Taylor handled Jose Ramirez to become Britain’s first undisputed world champion in the four-belt era, and Middleweight Jermall Charlo remained undefeated following his win against Juan Macias Montiel. But today, we’re going to focus on arguably the most exciting division in boxing: the Lightweight (135-pound) division.

Photo From: FanSided

Over this past weekend, two great fights took place. The first fight we’ll get into took place in Las Vegas: 5’7” Vasyl Lomachenko(16-2 record, 11 KOs) vs 5’11.5” Masayoshi Nakatani(19-2, 13 KOs). This particular Lightweight clash was very interesting for a few reasons. First thing was that 33-year-old former Pound-for-Pound boxing king Vasyl Lomachenko (a.k.a. “Loma”) was coming off a huge upset loss against the rising 23-year-old star in Temofimo Lopez Jr. (16-0, 12 KOs), resulting in Loma having to forfeit his lightweights belts to him. Despite being undefeated, he had arguably his most difficult win against Nakatani, in which the fight went to a judge’s decision. Following Loma’s loss to Lopez Jr. last October, he felt that he deserved a rematch, but Lopez declined due to Loma’s “disrespect” by not adding a “rematch clause” in their initial fight contract. To make the case to fight Lopez Jr. again, Loma felt that he had to put on a clinic against Nakatani, essentially having a better performance against him than Lopez Jr. did. And despite the risk due to the height advantage Nakatani possessed, he did exactly that. Lomachenko had arguably his best performance since moving to Lightweight, as he showcased his insanely slick footwork and precision throughout the whole fight, eventually TKOing Nakatani in the 9th round.

Lomachenko, who’s usually known as a slow starter(which basically lost him the fight against Lopez Jr.), was consistently picking his shots from the first round on, as he launched Nakatani’s head back within the first minute of the fight. He ended up connecting on 59% of his power punches, as opposed to 19% for Nakatani. The most absurd stat of this fight, which highlights how good Loma’s defense was in this fight, was that out of Nakatani’s 112 jabs that he threw, he only landed THREE of the jabs. His performance was so impressive, that even Temofimo’s father and trainer, Temofimo Lopez Sr., admitted that while he didn’t think about it at first, Loma’s spectacular performance is very worthy of a rematch with his son. And while Lomachenko, Lopez Sr., and Top Rank boxing promotion CEO Bob Arum want to make that fight happen, Lopez Jr. hasn’t been willing to give Loma a rematch, at least for now. But let’s be real here, this is THE fight to make in the Lightweight division. Loma is looking the best he’s ever looked in the division, Temofimo is on top of the division, and the build-up to the fight would be epic, given their beef with each other. But let’s also not get ahead of ourselves, as Temofimo Lopez Jr. still has to fight undefeated Lightweight title challenger George Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs) on August 14th, and he’s got some blazing hand speed. Lopez Jr. also is currently battling COVID-19, so we won’t know until fight night if he’s back in the elite shape he was before testing positive. But man, I really hope that fight happens.

Photo From: BleacherReport

Now, let’s move on to the other showdown that occurred in Atlanta on Saturday. Over

at Premier Boxing Champions (PBC boxing promotion), Floyd Mayweather’s protege

5’5.5’’ Gervonta “Tank” Davis (25-0, 24 KOs) went up against then-undefeated

Super Lightweight 5’11” Mario Barrios (26-1, 17 KOs) for the WBA regular Super

Lightweight (140 pounds) title. Tank, who has been fighting at Super

featherweight (130 pounds) and Lightweight his whole career, decided to make

the risky move to test his power against bigger boxers. And Barrios proved to

be a tougher task than perceived by the general public. Barrios arguably won

the first 4 rounds due to Tank’s inactivity, but Tank started to use his Southpaw stance to his advantage, landing some mean left hooks and body shots in the 5th round. But Barrios stayed poised with his technicality and jab, ultimately making the smart decision to avoid a brawl with the proclaimed knockout artist. But in the 8th round, Tank showed that his power still belongs, as he sent Barrios down to the canvas with a right

hook, and immediately came back and knocked him down again with a combo

finished with a straight left. But Barrios handled the storm by sticking to his

fundamentals and arguably won the 9th round. But at the end of the day, Tank

proved to have more weapons in his arsenal, and Tank took over with a mean

flurry of punches at the end of the 10th round, ultimately TKOing Barrios in

the 11th round, starting with his infamous left-handed uppercut, this time going to the

body. He is now a 3-division champ at 26 years old, even though some argue that

the WBA regular belt isn’t a legitimate belt, as it’s considered “secondary”. A

few takeaways I had from this fight was that I thought Tank improved as a fundamental

boxer since his last fight. In his last fight at Super Featherweight against

Leo Santa Cruz, Cruz was having quite some success with his combinations

against Tank Davis, despite looking like the weaker fighter. And even though

Tank took him out in the 6th round with a lethal uppercut to the chin, he had

some work to do if he wanted to succeed against better fighters. It was good to

see him more composed until he got his shot. Another thing I found interesting

was that Tank admitted post-fight that he started slow but he wasn’t sure if

his power could transfer to this division, while also not knowing if he could take a punch

from a 140-pounder. But evidently, his hands were still proven to be quite the

weapons in the division above. The last thing I found interesting was that

Floyd Mayweather stated after the fight that he only wants Tank to fight

“in-house”, meaning that he will only fight fighters who are either signed to

Mayweather Promotions or PBC. While there are some great fighters like Devin

Haney, Josh Taylor, Jose Ramirez, and Teofimo Lopez Jr. who would be

elite-level opponents for Tank, staying within the promotion leave only a few

great fighters left for Tank to fight. The best two that come to mind that is

arguably more dynamic than Barrios are Mikey Garcia and Regis Prograis. I could

honestly see those fights going either way, but I still think Tank has got the

tools to beat both of them. Also, despite being from a different promotion,

22-year-old rising Lightweight stud Ryan Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) called out

Gervonta Davis after the fight, saying he’s “charged up” and that’s the only

fight he wants. Garcia also called out Tank a few months ago on Mike Tyson’s

“Hot Boxin” podcast, saying he’d knock Tank in 2 rounds. I honestly believe Tank would beat Ryan Garcia if they were to fight soon, but who knows.

Photo From: Sporting News

As it stands within the Lightweight division, I think Teofimo Lopez Jr. still leads the pack. I believe that out of Vasyl Lomachenko, Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, and Gervonta Davis, I think Ryan Garcia poses the least significant threat to taking over the throne. Granted, he’s still only 22 years old, but it’s interesting to see if his chin can match up to the best in the division, as he got knocked down by Luke Campbell in his last fight. And even though Garcia won the fight with a left hook to the body in the 7th round, he’s got some work to do. But it’s honestly a toss-up between the other 3 fighters to be the top contender in the division, at least in my opinion.

Photo From: The Denver Post

There’s a lot to look forward to in the near future amongst other divisions as Deontay

Wilder and Tyson Fury are set to fight in a Heavyweight war on July 24th for

their trilogy, following the ruling in the arbitration case that forced this

3rd fight to happen between the two. While that fight sounds great, it,

unfortunately, delayed the highly anticipated fight between Fury and Anthony

Joshua fight that was supposed to take place in early August in Saudi Arabia.

But Joshua is now set to fight Oleksandr Usyk, another tough, undefeated

opponent. Hopefully, we could still see Joshua vs Fury, but Wilder seems

rejuvenated and motivated to take Fury’s head off. Generally, when fighters

fight for the 3rd time, you have a general idea of how the fight will go, but I

truly have no idea how this showdown will be played out.

Photo From: Los Angles Times

Also, undefeated Welterweight superstar Errol Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) is set to fight

boxing legend Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) on August 21st, and as previously

stated, Teofimo Lopez Jr. looks to obtain Lightweight supremacy on August 14th

against George Kambosos. There’s a ton of boxing to put you on the edge of your

seat over the next few months, and I can’t wait.

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