Nakatani To Defend WBC Bantamweight Title Against Astrolabio On July 20

WBC Bantamweight Champion Junto Nakatani will defend his belt against Vincent Astrolabio on July 20 from the Ariake Arena, Tokyo.

The undefeated three-division champion stopped Alexander Santiago via a sixth-round TKO to win the belt in February. That took his record to 27-0, with 20 KOs. He will defend the title for the first time, facing Astrolabio who is coming off an impressive win over Navapon Khaikanha.

He stopped his opponent in the 11th round to get the title shot. It was the perfect response after losing Jason Moloney in the previous fight. He also dropped two-time Olympic Gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux on his way to a unanimous decision win. Astrolabio’s manager, Sean Gibbons, backed his fighter to perform.

“He’s coming to Japan with heavy hands, looking at the big opportunity of winning a world title against a guy like this … being a champion around this weight class puts everyone in the (Naoya) Inoue sweepstakes. We know Nakatani is considered a real beast right now and a possible opponent for Inoue next year. Imagine if we whack the guy and look tremendous … plus, winning a WBC title is always the biggest and most prestigious accomplishment in the smaller weights.

“He put Rigondeaux on the deck, which got everyone to sit up and realize, ‘Hey, this guy’s a sleeper. He’s a late bloomer in that his early losses came at a time he was just learning and figuring things out. This is a huge task, just like Luis Nery had a huge task before putting Inoue on the deck. Yes, he got stopped, but he showed these guys in Japan aren’t untouchable. Vincent comes with a winning mentality and that’s half the battle,” Gibbons said

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