In a harder than expected fight, Teofimo Lopez had to reach deep to defeat Masoyoshi Naktani by a 12 round unanimous decision in an IBF lightweight title eliminator on Friday night in a competitive bout at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Although Teofimo, 21, won by a set of embarrassingly wide scores, the fight was actually an even affair from start to finish. Lopez (14-0, 11 KOs) looked barely better than Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs), and in some ways worse. The scores were 118-110, 119-109 and 118-110.
Those scores were not in tune with the actual fight. Lopez did enough to win the fight 7 rounds to 5, but you could even call it a draw, and few boxing fans would argue. Nakatani (18-1, 12 KOs) used his 5’11” height advantage to jab Lopez all night, and completely neutralize his normally potent offense.
Lopez’s win over Nakatani makes him the mandatory challenger to IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey (29-2, 26 KOs). Top Rank’s plan is to now have Lopez fight Commey before the end of the year, and then the winner of that fight will face WBA/WBO lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in early 2020 with all four of the lightweight titles on the line.
Lopez fought better in the early rounds of the fight. During the second half, Nakatani appeared to get the better of Teofimo with his jabs, and his laser right hand that continually caught him when he was coming forward on the attack. Given Lopez’s short height, he had no choice but to attack Nakatani, and take risks.
Subriel Matias stops Maxim Dadashev
In the tragic co-feature bout, light welterweight Subriel Matias (14-0, 14 KOs) defeated Maxium Dadashev (13-1, 11 KOs) by a 12th round knockout in an IBF 140 pound title eliminator. The fight was stopped before the 12th round. Dadashev was too hurt to continue fighting. The Russian fighter had taken too much punishment for him to continue fighting.
After the contest ended, it was learned that Dadashev was being taken to the hospital for surgery due to swelling on his brain. He had reportedly vomited in his dressing room, and was no longer able to walk. Dadashev was then taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Dadashev fought courageously during the contest with Matias, but he couldn’t keep the powerful Puerto Rican fighter off of him. Matias was relentless with the way that he attacked Dadashev with powerful body and head shots. Dadashev bravely threw everything he had, but Matias continued to pummel him with devastating head and body shots.
The fight arguably could have been stopped as late as the eighth round, because it was no longer remotely competitive. Dadashev was getting worked over by the hard hitting Matias, and there was no escape from the pressure. No matter where Dadashev attempted to go inside the ring to flee, Matias was always right there on top of him, nailing him with heavy shots.
With Matias’ win, he’s now the mandatory for IBF light welterweight champion Josh Taylor. Matias will need to wait until Taylor is done competing in the final of the World Boxing Super Series tournament against Regis Prograis.