Nakathila calls stoppage 'premature'

Fight ends in second round
Jeremiah Nakathila believes the referee halted the fight prematurely but congratulated his opponent, Raymond Muratalla, on the win.
Limba Mupetami
Raymond Muratalla's pummelling of Namibia's Jeremiah Nakathila in their lightweight 10-round contest this weekend extended his record to 18 unbeaten fights.

The American's win came via a technical knockout in the second round at the 2:48 mark.

The fight was an undercard to Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko's fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, which Haney defended successfully.

Muratalla rocked Nakathila with a right hand when there were just over 20 seconds to go in the second round. Nakathila moved backward and onto the ropes. Muratalla swarmed him and unloaded a barrage of power punches, and referee Robert Hoyle stepped between them because he thought Nakathila was too hurt to continue.

Too early

The Namibian returned to the ring after a 14-month hiatus, thus making this the first time he has lost by knockout in 26 professional fights.

Speaking to Namibian Sun after the fight, Nakathila congratulated Muratalla for the victory and also thanked Top Rank for the opportunity to fight in Las Vegas for the third time. "Me and my team trained hard and prepared for this fight, and I’m just really disappointed that the referee stopped the fight very prematurely.

"Yes, I was caught with a couple of punches, but that’s what we train for. I was in no danger at all, and that is why I’m so sad and disappointed, but that’s water under the bridge," said Nakathila.

Proud fight

Muratalla said he was ready for the exchange.

"I was so prepared for this fight. I have been training for this fight. I have been so dedicated. I’m so focused, and I’m ready for anybody.

"I think I sent a big message to the lightweight division. Nobody has ever stopped Nakathila. I just stopped him in the second round. I think that’s a huge statement.

"I want the winner of the main event. That’s who I want," he said.

Namibia on the map

Nakathila's promoter and trainer, Nestor Tobias from the MTC Nestor Tobias Sunshine Academy, thanked the entire Namibian nation for the support. "Some people will comment negatively on the performance of Nakathila, but the real and patriotic Namibian will appreciate him for putting our country on the world map and being part of the biggest sporting event of the year," he said.

"It was another positive chapter in Namibian boxing, and I’m proud of our country," Tobias added.