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Raymond Muratalla stops Jeremia Nakathila in two rounds on Haney-Loma card

Jeremia Nakathila (L) and Raymond Muratalla (R) exchange punches - Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)
Fighters Network

LAS VEGAS – If Raymond Muratalla wanted to make a statement to the rest of the lightweight division, he picked the right night to do so.

On the same night Devin Haney defended his undisputed and Ring Magazine lightweight championship, the unbeaten lightweight stopped fringe contender Jeremia Nakathila in the second round before a partisan crowd at the MGM Grand. 

Muratalla, who resides in Fontana, California, improves to 18-0, 15 knockouts.

After a feeling out opening round, one that produced modest action, Muratalla was the aggressor, initiating exchanges in the second round.

Towards the end of the round, Muratalla stunned Nakathila with a right hand to the head. Moments later, another right hand to the head sent Nakathila reeling back against a corner. Muratalla followed up, landing a barrage of punches, prompting referee Robert Hoyle to step in and stop the fight at 2:48.

The win over Nakathila took place eight weeks after Muratalla overcame a knockdown early in the fight to knock out Humberto Galindo in the ninth round. Muratalla was criticized for the slow start, but attributed his performance Saturday to being more motivated than ever to make a statement and put forth a solid performance. 

“This time around, I was so prepared for this fight,” said Muratalla after the fight. “I’ve been training for this fight. I’ve been so dedicated. 

“I think I sent a big message to the lightweight division. Nobody had ever stopped Nakathila. I just stopped him in the second round. I think that’s a huge statement. 

“I want the winner of the main event. That’s who I want.”

The 26-year-old is trained and managed by Robert Garcia.

Nakathila, who resides in Windhoek, Namibia, falls to 23-3, 19 KOs. In his previous fight on March 26 of last year, Nakathila stopped former world junior lightweight titleholder Miguel Berchelt after the sixth round. 

His previous defeat came in June 2021, a one-sided decision loss to Shakur Stevenson, a fight that took place at 130 pounds. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]