Lomachenko vs Nakatani: Height and reach difference too much for Loma?
Vasyl Lomachenmo reportedly boasts an amateur record of 396-1.
And of nearly 400 of those opponents, he's likely faced a few who enjoyed significant height and reach advantages. And it's that kind of experience, coupled with his overall pedigree, that may pull him through tonight against the 5'11" Masayoshi Nakatani who will enter the ring with a five to six reach advantage.
Yes, a fighter's ranginess, especially his reach, can be pivotal.
All other things equal, a skilled fighter with a much longer reach will have a sizeable advantage. It's like basketball in some ways - a player shorter than 6'3" has to be extra special to succeed in the NBA.
The name of the game is 'hit and don't be hit' and, due to simple geometry, favors the fighter with longer arms, squarely putting the onus on the less rangy guy to create opportunities to 'hit and not be hit.'
Some shorter fighters use their speed and quickness to compensate for their height while others use their punching power, technique and timing, physical strength advantages on the inside, or some combination thereof.
Tonight, footwork and timing will be key for Lomachenko. He must find ways to use his feet to put in him advantageous angles against a hungry foe who isn't short on quickness, power, or athleticism.
Sure, Vasyl Lomachenko is used to being the less rangy fighter but he's not accustomed to facing opponents with a five to six-inch height and reach advantage.
And let's not forget, Lomachenko vs Nakatani will take place in the lightweight division where height and reach advantages are accentuated versus heavier weight classes.
While most of Mike Tyson's opponents had at least a four-inch height and reach advantage, Mike's speed and punching power as a heavyweight served as great equalizers.
Unlike Tyson, Lomachenko doesn't have the power of a heavyweight wrecking machine nor will he enjoy Tyson's advantages in speed because all lightweights on this level are fast.
Lomachenko vs Nakatani
Lightweights, 12 Rounds
TV: UK: Sky Sports; US: ESPN+
In Loma's most recent round, we saw Teofimo Lopez, with only a three-inch advantage in reach, fight tall and use his speed and explosiveness from mid to long-range to outbox the gifted Ukrainian.
Nakatani is not as powerful as Lopez and probably doesn't have Teofimo's raw skill. However, if he can fight tall and humble Lomachenko with his punching power, it could be an interesting bout.
It won't be easy for Nakatani as the supremely skilled Lomachenko is a phenom who seemingly boasts advantages in every category sans size and is well-prepared for this assignment.
Thus, if not for Nakatani's vast height and reach advantages, this fight would lack any semblance of intrigue.
Please share your thoughts on Kakatani's chances.