Teofimo Lopez’s rocket ride to the top will continue on July 19 when the two-time Yahoo Sports Prospect of the Year faces unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani in the main event of a card at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon HIll, Maryland, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti confirmed Thursday to Yahoo Sports.
The news was first reported on Twitter by Dan Rafael of ESPN.com.
Lopez is coming off a fifth-round knockout last month of Edis Tatli at Madison Square Garden in New York. The 21-year-old is ranked fourth in the IBF, one spot behind Nakatani, who is 18-0 with 12 knockouts.
Top Rank’s goal is for Lopez to win to become the mandatory challenger for IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey. A win over Commey would allow Lopez then to face WBA-WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in a mega-bout either late this year or early next year.
Lopez is a powerful puncher and an exciting offensive fighter, and could be the opponent who could bring the best out in Lomachenko, whom many regard as the best boxer in the world pound-for-pound. Lomachenko is ranked No. 3 pound-for-pound by Yahoo Sports.
Moretti said a timetable for a potential Lomachenko-Lopez fight is late 2019 or early 2020.