Nakatani-Moloney matchup leads a star-studded undercard for Haney-Lomachenko on May 20
News broke that Devin Haney will defend his undisputed lightweight championship against Vasiliy Lomachenko at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas on May 20.
The strong undercard will feature Andrew Moloney facing off with Junto Nakatani for the vacant WBO junior bantamweight title. The return of Oscar Valdez against Adam Lopez in a junior lightweight rematch and Jeremiah Nakathila meeting Raymond Muratalla at lightweight.
Nakatani (24-0, 18 KOs), The Ring’s No. 7 rated junior bantamweight, ran through his early opposition and holds wins over future junior flyweight titleholder Masamichi Yabuki (UD 4), current Japanese titleholder Seigo Yuri Akui (TKO 6) and passed the litmus test of former 108-pound titleholder Milan Melindo (TKO 6).
Covid stymied the tall 25-year-old’s progress and he had to wait 13-months to win the vacant WBO flyweight title against Giemel Magramo (TKO 8). The heavy-handed boxer-puncher made two defenses, including his American debut, when he stopped former titleholder Angel Acosta (TKO 4) and on the undercard of Gennadiy Golovkin-Ryota Murata, he was equally impressive bludgeoning Ryota Yamauchi (TKO 8). He outgrew the 112-pound division and successfully moved up to 115 beating Mexican veteran Francisco Rodriguez Jr. (UD 10).
Moloney (25-2, 16 KOs), The Ring’s No. 9 rated junior bantamweight, was a seasoned amateur and won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth games. Has scored solid wins over Luis Concepcion (TKO 10), Miguel Gonzalez (TKO 8) and Elton Dharry (RTD 8).
Two decision loses to Joshua Franco bookended a controversial fight in which Moloney appeared to start fast and cause a swelling that shut one of Franco’s eyes. The fight was ruled a non-contest. The 32-year-old has rebounded strongly with four wins, most notably besting Norbelto Jimenez (UD 10).
Valdez (30-1, 23 KOs), The Ring’s No. 1 rated junior lightweight, was a standout amateur, appearing at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and winning bronze at the 2009 World Championships. The Mexican star claimed the vacant WBO featherweight title by blasting out Matias Rueda (TKO 2), in July 2016, and made six defenses. Notable triumphs came against Miguel Marriaga (UD 12) and Scott Quigg (UD 12) before the move to 130. In his debut at the new weight, he was given a tougher time than expected against Lopez and had to recover from a second-round trip to the canvas before rallying to stop Lopez in seven-rounds.
Valdez scored a career-best win when he knocked out Miguel Berchelt (KO 10) for the WBC title. The 32-year-old made one successful defense, struggling to get past Robson Conceicao (UD 12) before losing to Stevenson (UD 12).
Lopez (16-4, 6 KOs) turned professional in 2016 and won his first eight fights before losing his unbeaten record to future unified junior featherweight titlist Stephen Fulton (MD 8). Got back to winning ways with five wins, including one over once-touted Jean Carlos Rivera (TKO 7). Put up a gutsy effort when he stepped in late to face Valdez in their first meeting. The 26-year-old rebounded to win the NABF title against Jason Sanchez (MD 10) but has lost his title to Isaac Dogboe (MD 10). Has since beaten William Encarnacion (UD 8) but lost to Abraham Nova (UD 10).
Nakathila (23-2, 19 knockouts) turned professional in 2013. The Namibian won his first 11 fights before losing to Evgeny Chuprakov (MD 12) in Russia. He rebounded with 10 wins, collecting a WBO regional title, which helped earn the 33-year-old a fight with rising star Shakur Stevenson. It proved a bridge too far, and he was widely outpointed. The power-punching Namibian has since scored a career best win forcing former junior lightweight titlist Miguel Berchelt to retire at the end of six-rounds.
Muratalla (17-0, 14 KOs) turned professional in September 2016. After winning his first three fights in Mexico, the California native moved through the ranks. He holds wins over Jeremy Hill (KO 3), Jair Valtierra (UD 8) and, most recently, Humberto Galindo (KO 9). This is a marked step up for Muratalla but one he feels ready for.
Haney vs. Lomachenko, plus supporting undercard, will be broadcast on ESPN+ PPV beginning at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. The PPV will be priced at $59.99.
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