Story by: Robert Uzzell
#TheTakeover comes to MGM National Harbor: Teofimo Lopez looks to earn a title shot with win over Masayoshi Nakatani.
Teofimo ‘El Brooklyn’ Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs), at age 21 is on a fast track to a world title opportunity. Masayoshi Nakatani (18-0, 12 KOs) wants to bring that train to a halt. The victor gets a shot at the IBF lightweight title against the champion Richard Commey.
Lopez is a fighter you must watch every time he fights. Each time out there is something different from a Fortnite dance, to a back flip, to Heisman pose with the soon to be winner’s jersey.
Nakatani is fast and rangy (5’ 11 ½ inch height and 71” reach to Lopez’s 5’8” and 68 ½ inch reach). He punches in combinations and can counter punch or lead. He throws to the body as well as the head.
The two combatants headline an ESPN+ card on Friday, July 19 at MGM National Harbor in Maryland.
“I’m excited to come back, especially for my first headlining bout, one of many to come,” Lopez said. “After Nakatani, you will see me face the winner of Richard Commey and Ray Beltran. If you think you’ve seen it all, you haven’t. My goal is to be a worldwide star, and Nakatani is not going to stop me. “Expect another badass knockout, and rest assured, I have something special planned for the celebration. For this fight, we’re doing a nine-week training camp, and I am going to be in the best shape of my career.
‘The Takeover’ is coming July 19 to MGM National Harbor.”
“This fight is just a stop on the way to becoming world champion,” Nakatani said. “I hope all boxing fans in Japan and around the world will enjoy what I bring to the table.”
This is a matchup of undefeated fighters with styles that will command an explosive fight. The fact that both fighters are green as professional resumes and accomplishments go make it all the more enticing to watch.
I envision a fight with bombs being thrown early and as a result, we may be headed to I-95 highway sooner than later.
Lopez has been steamrolling opponents as of late and it’ll be interesting to see how he handles the length and speed of Nakatani, who has seven stoppages in his last eight fights.
Also on the card as the co-feature is another title eliminator, this time at super lightweight. Both combatants, as with the main event, are undefeated and big punchers.
Maxim Dadashev (13-0, 11 KOs) will face Subriel Matias (13-0, 13 KOs) for a chance to fight for the IBF super lightweight title. The winner will face the winner between champion Josh Taylor and challenger Regis Prograis.
Dadashev has wins over Antonio DeMarco and Darleys Perez.
“It doesn’t matter who I fight or where I fight. I am looking forward to the opportunity in front of me,” Dadashev said. “Matias is a dangerous fighter, but I am ready for whatever he brings. I have fought every kind of style as an amateur and a professional, and all of my experiences have led me to this fight.”
This is also a fight I expect to be explosive. Dadashev has the better resume of the two, but nobody has gone the distance with him in his pro career. He’s never been past the sixth round. He’s long at 5’10” and he’s a southpaw so there are factors in this fight which make it extremely fascinating.
Also on the card is Camden, New Jersey’s Jason Sosa, (22-3-4, 15 KOs). He takes on Erick De Leon, (19-0-1, 11 KOs) out of Motown. De Leon looks to continue his climb up the chart, with his most notable fight a draw against Andy Vences. Sosa looks to get back to championship form that saw him win a title against Javier Fortuna and defend a title against Vasiliy Lomachenko.
I like this fight for both guys. This will tell us where Jason Sosa is and what he has left. We’ll also see if De Leon is able to pass the test of a former world champion or if he needs more work to get to a level above faded former champion.
I like all three matchups and I expect a night of fireworks.