Nakatani Will ‘Walk Out’ With Santiago Win, According To Moloney

Junto Nakatani will “walk out” with Alexandro Santiago’s WBC bantamweight title on Saturday in the Japanese capital of Tokyo, believes his former opponent Andrew Moloney.

The 26-year-old Nakatani secured a title at super flyweight, and therefore a second weight, when defeating Moloney for the vacant WBO title last May via a highlight-reel 12th-round knockout.

“I’m very interested to see how this fight plays out because of Nakatani’s move up in weight,” Moloney said. “His height and reach might not be as prevalent as it was at flyweight and super fly, where he would always have the natural size over his opponents. Even though he will still have that height and reach advantage anyway, Santiago seems to be quite strong and puts a lot of pressure on you.”

Santiago, 28, won the vacant WBC belt via a unanimous-decision victory over the once-great Nonito Donaire last July in Las Vegas. He makes his first defense of it at the Ryogoku Kokugikan.

“He gave Donaire a very hard fight and won that,” Moloney continued. “He gave Gary [Antonio] Russell a good fight, but didn’t get the decision. He also gave Jerwin Ancajas a hard fight as well where he got a draw; he could have easily won that fight with other judges on a different night. 

“He’s been in there with some good guys and he has always given them a hard fight. So, I am interested to see how much success Nakatani can have at bantamweight. But, at the end of the day I think Nakatani will probably walk out with the win. 

“I don’t know if it will be a devastating performance from him or if he gets through on the scorecards, but I think he will walk away with the win. How he copes with the pressure of Santiago will be very interesting.”