Nakatani Gets Off The Canvas Twice,
KO’s 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 KO’s) and Masayoshi
Nakatani (19-1, 13 KO’s) put on a fantastic show of
heart and courage. This was truly a great fan friendly
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 anyone’s 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 Verdejo’s attack. Whatever damage was done by
Verdejo early didn’t 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
On his eye catching performance Nakatani announced,
“Throwing shots from the top didn’t work. With the
distance, it didn’t work, and I went from below to get
the shots in. I fought Teofimo Lopez, and I want to
fight him again, and that’s why I kept going.I want to
go for the knockout like I did today. and that’s going
to be my style.”
Super Featherweight Shakur Stevenson (15-0, 8 KO’s)
defeated Toka Kahn Clary (28-3, 19 KO’s) 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 that’s 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 KO’s) continues
to look like the complete package as he made quick and
easy work of Saul Juarez (25-13-2, 13 KO’s). 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 KO’s.
Super Middleweight Edgar Berlanga (16-0, 16 KO’s)
dispatched a fighter in Ulises Sierra (15-2-2, 9 KO’s)
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 we’re going to get those rounds in. We ended
2020 with a bang. 2021 is big year for us, and I’m
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 KO’s) and Brandon
Valdes (13-2, 7 KO’s) 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 KO’s) could not get
out of the way of the right hand of Quincy LaVallais
(10-0-1 5 KO’s) 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.