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Nakatani and Acosta Stacks Up as Strong Boxing Match

If you’re reading this article then you must know of the new circus fight Friday between Evander Holyfield, the ancient former heavyweight champion, and Vitor Belfort, the not-so-ancient TRT meat puppet of the UFC’s “Just Bleed” days.

If you want something a bit more “wholesome,” there is a legitimate boxing event happening on the same night and flyweight assassins will set the stage.

Kazuto Ioka of Japan (L) punches his compatriot Kosei Tanaka (R) during their WBO men's super flyweight title bout
Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP

Japanese prodigy Junto Nakatani (21-0-0, 16 KOs) defends his WBO Flyweight Title against the tough Angel “Tito” Acosta (22-2-0, 21 KOs). Despite what the boxing betting lines suggest, Nakatani should have a real fight on his hands as a -800 favorite.

  • Date: Friday, Sept. 10, 10 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Casino del Sol, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • Watch on: ESPN+

Nakatani vs Acosta: All or Nothing

Nakatani has never tasted defeat but there is a first time for everything. Acosta packs plenty of power for his weight class as evidenced by his 95.4% KO rate. He’s also hittable and was knocked out in his most recent loss.

In fact, the two are merely examples of what has been going on in the lower weight classes as the majority of the flyweight champions are fight finishers. Regardless of who wins this, expect a fun back-and-forth between up-and-coming flyweights.

Acosta is moving up a weight class against Nakatani, who is a 5-foot-7 southpaw and could be moving up in the future himself. But between both men, they pack heavy punches and are hittable enough to make this one fun to watch but perhaps a sweat for those betting online.

Nakatani Could Be A Star-in-the-Making

As a 112-pound fighter, it’s hard to get noticed. Manny Pacquiao did not break out until he moved up to featherweight to pull an all-time upset against Marco Antonio Barrera 41 fights into his career. But Nakatani has shown flashes of what it takes.

Nakatani is 23 years old and has hardly taken any damage. He’s also learned the careful art of knocking out his opponents. Nine of his last 10 fights have seen him dust his foes. In fact, no foe has survived Nakatani when the fight goes beyond eight rounds.

Fighting Acosta not only gives Nakatani a relatively known opponent but someone who can push him to a level we haven’t seen. Acosta will bring the heat and Nakatani will get the chance to prove he is more than just hype at this point.

Or Will Acosta Steal Nakatani’s Thunder?

You don’t have to be an unbeaten fighter to become a star in boxing going back to the Pacquiao example. Acosta certainly has the fighting style and finishing ability to warrant a shot. But he’ll have to deliver as a +500 underdog here.

Acosta can be too headstrong for his own good sometimes. That is a treat for the fans but not so much for him when he’s on the wrong end of the slugfest. He’ll be the smaller fighter here against Nakatani giving up three inches in both height and reach.

Still, Acosta can bring pressure like Nakatani hasn’t seen before. With powerful hands, he can hurt Nakatani and throw him off his game. Of course, he’ll also have to defend against Nakatani. And as far as backing underdogs for fun or on the sportsbook, you can do worse than the former light flyweight champ.

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