Nambia’s Jeremia Nakathila produced a power-punching performance to stop Miguel Berchelt in six rounds last night.
Berchelt was returning to the ring 13 months on from a heavy knockout defeat to Oscar Valdez. That was the Mexican’s last fight at super-featherweight and made his lightweight debut against Naktathila.
For the Namibian, who also moved up to 135lbs, it was his second trip to America in nine months after losing to Shakur Stevenson last June.
From the outset Nakathila wasn’t interested in a feeling out process or time to build confidence and momentum. The 32-year-old came out swinging. His smiling presence before the fight began was a sign of his confidence and relaxed manner about what lay in front of him. Berchelt was immediately put into a firefight and could do little to contain it.
Nakathila’s right hand packed power from wherever it took off. Up close or at distance he seemed to hurt Berchelt on most occasions. There was little in the way of a jab or set-ups, instead it was brute force and ask questions later. It was wayward at times, but it was also effective.
Worryingly for Berchelt he would be dropped by a jab in round 3. It was firm but it is never a good sign when a fighter is on the floor from something that can cause damage but should not score a knockdown.
The writing was on the wall for ‘El Alacran’. He couldn’t get Nakathila’s respect and anything he did land was simply walked through.
The power shots continued. Berchelt had to hang on and hope his opponent would slow down or make a mistake. And even though Nakathila wasn’t polished in his work Berchelt could not capitalise on any errors presented to him.
Berchelt found some success in the 6 th exchanging big rangy shots with the African. But it was delaying the inevitable. Nakathila continued to punch the fight out of the betting favourite who even saw his gumshield fly out with 40 seconds left. By the time the round ended referee Russell Mora had seen enough. With Berchelt on his stool his part in suffering a one-sided beating was over.
No doubt the warrior from Yucatán will carry on. But his showing tonight in Vegas should be a concern for himself and his team. As for Nakathila he did what many deemed unthinkable. There were big smiles beforehand and many more afterwards. His style might not be so troublesome for the leading players at lightweight but there is enough threat to ensure he’ll be back in a big fight soon.