Rising lightweight star Teofimo Lopez could be one fight away from a world title shot, as he’s going to face unbeaten Masayoshi Nakatani in the main event of a Top Rank card from the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti confirmed the information to Yahoo Sports.
Lopez was in action last month on the pay-per-view undercard to Terence Crawford vs. Amir Khan at Madison Square Garden in New York City. As the co-featured attraction of the card, he battered and stopped Edis Tatli.
Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) is ranked at #4 by the IBF, while Nakatani (18-0, 12 KOs) is at #3. The rating position for number 1 and 2 are both vacant.
Top Rank, who promote Lopez, would like to get him in a mandatory position to collide with IBF lightweight champion Richard Commey.
If Lopez defeats Commey, it would open the door for a unification with WBA/WBO champion Vasiliy Lomachenko in a pay-per-view bout by the first quarter of 2020.
Lopez has been pressing high and wide for a clash with Lomachenko and wants to have that contest happen by the end of 2019 – threatening that he might not be able to make the lightweight limit in 2020. But Lomachenko sees no reason to fight him without a world title being at stake.