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Winner Nakatani explains hard-fought battle with Verdejo in Dec. 12 fight in LAS

Dec 15, 2020 9:58 am

World Boxing Organization’s 14th-ranked lightweight Masayoshi Nakatani trusted in himself even if he was decked twice earlier in the fight against fourth-ranked International Boxing Federation’s Felix Verdejo of Puerto Rico in the WBO Inter-Continental lightweight title match at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Dec. 12 (Dec. 13 Japan time). Nakatani won the title in a dramatic ninth-round technical knockout.

According to Nakatani’s comments sent via Teiken Boxing Gym to which he now belongs, Although Nakatani was a little bit damaged in the opening-round knockdown, he thought he would be able to fight back. But Nakatani did admit his damage was stronger when he was dropped again in the fourth round. He was not careful like he should have.

Referring to the fight around the middle rounds, Nakatani said, ‘’When I hit him with good punches, I noticed through his eyes he was weakened and continued fighting, thinking if I was able to land good punches, I would have chances to beat him. When he chose to clinch me (either in the sixth or seventh round) when I landed a good right, I thought I might be able to knock him out.

About the ninth round in which he decked Verdejo, Nakatani said, ‘’I didn’t get any particular pressure of my punches, I felt he was staggered due to my punches, thought it’s now or never and went all over him (to score the first knockdown). While I scored the second knockdown with my one-two combinations, I did not feel any specific response. I wasn’t particularly delightful when I won. I had thought winning would be more emotional.’’

‘’True I was happy to win. But it was not a victory for a world title. I would say I heaved a sigh of relief because I was able to meet the expectations of various people who went heaven and earth to realize this fight.’’

Nakatani received medical attention immediately after the fight and was nothing serious.

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