Vasiliy Lomachenko didn’t officially return to any lightweight throne on Saturday, but he sure looked like a lightweight king.
Lomachenko (15-2, 11 KOs) delivered a masterful performance in a ninth-round TKO of Masayoshi Nakatani (19-2, 13 KOs) on Saturday inside The Theater at Virgin Hotel.
In his first appearance since losing the WBO, IBF and WBA belts to Teofimo Lopez in October, Lomachenko reasserted himself as one of the best 135-pounders in the world.
“I’m happy because I won,” Lomachenko said. “All the strategies that we developed with my team [worked]. I reached all my goals. I won, and now I’m back on track.”
The finish came at 1 minute, 48 seconds of the ninth, as referee Celestino Ruiz intervened during a prolonged flurry in the middle of the ring.
Nakatani, who survived an earlier knockdown in the fifth, was essentially out on his feet. He attempted to tie Lomachenko up to stop the barrage, but Lomachenko consistently created space and landed at will.
With the victory, Lomachenko earned the right to a potential rematch with Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), a reward he has made no secret he desperately seeks. Lomachenko lost a unanimous decision to Lopez in October, but said he felt it should have been scored a draw. He has also claimed he was negatively impacted by an injury to his right shoulder.