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  Nakatani Gets Off The Canvas Twice,
KOs Verdejo In Gutty Performance


By William Trillo
Photos: Mikey Williams - Top Rank

 

In the fight that stole the show in the Las Vegas Bubble Lightweights Felix Verdejo (27-2, 17 KOs) and Masayoshi Nakatani (19-1, 13 KOs) put on a fantastic show of heart and courage. This was truly a great fan friendly fight.

In the opening round Verdejo put Nakatani down with a crisp right hand. The punch was picture perfect. How Nakatani arose and survived the round is anyones guess. Verdejo appeared to stay in control as he kept landing his shots flush and often.

In round four Nakatani kissed the canvas again as Verdeljo landed another thudding shot. Again Nakatani got to his feet to finish the round.

Momentum began to slightly shift over the following rounds as Nakatani appeared to have discovered some flaws in Verdejos attack. Whatever damage was done by Verdejo early didnt seem to have slowed Nakatani at all. In fact his punch output was increasing and so was the damage he was doing to Verdejo.

In round seven Verdejo was visibly shaken by a big punch from Nakatani. Verdejo would weather the storm and even land some big shots of his own, but he was visibly hurt and would never fully recover.

In round eight Nakatani was now confident and in control. Verdejo was still in the fight but he was far from the fighter who dropped his foe twice a few rounds earlier. Things were going from bad to worse rapidly for the Puerto Rican fighter.

In round nine Nakatani landed a piston like jab that staggered Verdejo who stumbled into the ropes and fell. He got back to his feet to battle on but Nakatani was on him right away and two punches later Verdejo was face first on the canvas. The ref waved the fight off at the 1:45 mark of round nine.
 

Nakatani pulled off a stunning if not upset victory. At the time of the stoppage Verdejo was comfortably ahead on the cards 78-72 twice and 77-74. In other words the only way Nakatani was going to get the win was via KO, which he accomplished. With the victory Nakatani snagged the vacant World Boxing Organization Inter-Continental Light Title

On his eye catching performance Nakatani announced, Throwing shots from the top didnt work. With the distance, it didnt work, and I went from below to get the shots in. I fought Teofimo Lopez, and I want to fight him again, and thats why I kept going.I want to go for the knockout like I did today. and thats going to be my style.
 

Super Featherweight Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KOs) defeated Toka Kahn Clary (28-3, 19 KOs) in a ten round bout that was as dull as the backside of a butter knife. Final scores all in favor of Stevenson read 100-90 x 3.
 

Afterward Stevenson noted, He knew how to survive. He came in there to survive, and thats what he did. I want the WBO belt first. The winner of Carl Frampton and Jamel Herring have to come see me. After that, we want WBC world champion Miguel Berchelt.
 

Light Flyweight Jesse Rodriguez (13-0, 9 KOs) continues to look like the complete package as he made quick and easy work of Saul Juarez (25-13-2, 13 KOs). Working to the body and head Rodriguez left Juarez no room to move. In round two a series of blows from Rodriguez put Juarez on his hands and knees unable to beat the ten count. This one was over at the 2:05 mark of round two.
 

The streak continues. 16 fights, 16 first round KOs. Super Middleweight Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 16 KOs) dispatched a fighter in Ulises Sierra (15-2-2, 9 KOs) who had never been stopped before. In this particular power display the superhuman Berlanga put his foe down three times in under three minutes giving the ref no choice but to halt this fight. For the record, this one came to an end at the 2:40 mark of round one.

After the fight Berlanga stated, I want rounds. The better competition, the better opposition we fight, I believe were going to get those rounds in. We ended 2020 with a bang. 2021 is big year for us, and Im looking forward to it. Tito Trinidad was my idol. He still is. Just being with him opened up my eyes as to what boxing is about, the dedication, the focus, leaving the streets and the bad people alone.
 

Featherweights Robeisy Ramirez (6-1, 4 KOs) and Brandon Valdes (13-2, 7 KOs) started out the battle giving the fans a pretty good looking little scrap. But as the rounds ensued Ramirez showed the counter punching and defensive skills of a well-schooled fighter. As Ramirez started laying unanswered leather on Valdes the ref decided enough was enough. The bout was declared a TKO at the 2:49 mark of the sixth.
 

Middleweight Clay Collard (9-3-3, 4 KOs) could not get out of the way of the right hand of Quincy LaVallais (10-0-1 5 KOs) all night long. Looking confident and comfortable LaVallais dominated this fight that gave Collard his first loss in 2020. Judges scorecards all in favor of LaVallais read 78-74 and 77-75 x 2.
 

Featherweight Haven Brady Jr (2-0, 2 KO) beat Michael Land (1-2, 1 KO) into submission. Having taken enough punishment from Brady after two rounds Team Land threw in the towel. Chalk this one up as a KO after round two.
 

Welterweight Kasir Goldston (2-0, 1 KO) opened the show with an impressive KO stoppage over Llewelyn McClamy (2-1, 1 KO). Goldston threw a pretty wicked double left hook that sent McClamy down for an eight count. Goldston wasted little time after that and sent his foe down for good moments later. Officially this one came to a halt at the 1:25 mark of the second round.



 

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