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Lopez victorious in title emliminator against Nakatani

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Lopez victorious in title emliminator against Nakatani

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Lopez victorious in title emliminator against Nakatani

Teofimo Lopez was victorious against his toughest opponent to date, defeating the previously undefeated Masayoshi Nakatani via unanimous decision in an IBF lightweight world title eliminator in front of 2,100 fans at The Theater at MGM National Harbor.

The judges scored the bout 118-110 by two judges and 119-109 by another but the wide margin on the scorecards was not very reflective of the fight in the ring. The action between the ropes showed that Lopez was having difficulty at times with the height of Nakatani, who was able to establish his jab through most of the early stages of the fight. The telecast also pointed out how Lopez was telegraphing punches that Nakatani was able to defend and counter. Nakatani was game in this contest, despite not getting the victory and suffering his first career defeat.

This was the first time Lopez had gone past seven rounds in his professional boxing career.

“They wanted to see me go the distance. I did 12 rounds. I’m still a champ,” Lopez said after the fight. “I just need little tune-ups. It’s part of the process. I’m thankful right now. It was my first main event. It was 12 rounds. Am I proud of it? No, but I’m proud that I showed everyone I could go 12 rounds.”

Said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum: “He has a lot to learn. It’s the tallest guy he ever fought. It was tough adjusting to it. The guy was a dangerous puncher. It was a good performance. I wanted him, when he had the guy going, to put the pedal down. The good thing that comes from this is that we know he can go 12 rounds. That’s always a question in my mind. Could he go 12 rounds, and the answer is yes.”

Next up for Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs), is a title shot against Richard Commey, who was victorious in his eliminator bout against Ray Beltran.

Marquis Johns is a unknown humorist and avid boxing fan. His love for the sweet science goes back to when matches were 15 rounds and has been covering fights since closed-circuit pay-per-views. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth is not only a quote by Mike Tyson, it's also a pretty good reminder to keep your guard up.

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