Boxing lightweights Teófimo López and Masayoshi Nakatani will square off in an IBF final eliminator on Friday at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
The undercards start at 6:30 p.m. ET, while the main event begins at 10 p.m. ET. Neither will be on regular TV in the US, but you can watch all the fights via ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of boxing and other live sporting events, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch a live stream of Lopez vs Nakatani on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Lopez vs Nakatani Preview
Nakatani (18-0, 12 knockouts) and López (13-0, 11 knockouts) will battle for the right to challenge IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey of Ghana.
It’ll be Nakatani’s first professional fight outside his native Japan.
On July 12, he watched countryman Ryota Murata hand Robert Brant of the United States a two-round defeat to regain the WBA “regular” middleweight title.
“I cannot help but get stimulated and excited and inspired by Ryota Murata’s quick win to regain the world title in the rematch,” the 30-year-old Nakatani said, according to Boxing Scene. “Despite his great mental pressure before the fight, Ryota Murata was able to achieve a great victory. In my next fight against Teófimo López in the USA, I am going to do everything possible to succeed and I’ll use Ryota Murata for a guide.
“Against Teófimo López, I will go out in this fight with aggressive boxing from the first round to threaten my opponent and use my overwhelming will. I am ready and attentive to control myself in the ring at the moment of truth and I will have to win in a one-sided fight in my favor. I understand that Teófimo López is an up and down boxer. I will have to be very careful during the fight. The most important thing is that I must demonstrate my usual pugilistic qualities in the US ring.
“I made the leap to the professional ranks to be a world champion. I have a stronger motivation than anyone else to secure that hope to get closer to crowning myself as a world champion. I will have to succeed in taking advantage of my stature and my reach.”
Nakatani is coming off a seventh-round TKO of Hurricane Futa in December.
López last fought in April, when he dealt Edis Tatli of Finland a fifth-round knockout.
The 21-year-old Brooklyn native has designs on unifying the division, which would mean besting Nakatani and Commey before taking out WBA and WBO champion Vasyl Lomachenko or the Ukrainian’s upcoming challenger Luke Campbell.
“My fight right now that I’m focused on is Nakatani, July 19th, after that we have Commey,” López said, according to Bad Left Hook. “We have Commey probably early November. And then after that, man, if everything’s all good, we can still make the weight, we’ll fight for all four belts whether it’s with Luke Campbell or Lomachenko.”
López hasn’t fought past the seventh round as a pro; his pair of decision victories came in six-round bouts.
Nakatani hasn’t gone 12 rounds since his unanimous decision victory over Krai Setthaphon in April 2017.
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