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Alexandro Santiago vs. Junto Nakatani Preview and Betting Odds

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 7:15 pm by Erwin Noguera

This weekend, the combat sports world travels east with the long-awaited return of boxing to the land of the rising sun. An epic world title bout between Mexico’s Alexandro Santiago and Japan’s Junto Nakatani headlines a packed card at Tokyo’s legendary Kokugikan Arena.

Santiago puts his WBC bantamweight belt on the line against hungry local challenger Nakatani in what should be an action-packed battle. With the passionate Japanese fans backing their native son, the champion faces a stern test in hostile territory against an undefeated opponent.

Both fighters enter the ring in top form, having turned in career-best performances in their most recent bouts. A win for either fighter would represent the biggest moment of their careers thus far.

The stage is set for an unforgettable night that could see the dawning of a new era in Japanese boxing.

When and Where?

Saturday, February 24, 4:00 am ET at the Kokugikan in Tokyo, JP

Ring Walks:

(Estimated) 6:00 AM ET

Moneyline odds:

Alexandro Santiago 6.74 

Junto Nakatani 1.145

Where To Watch:


Why Bet on Alexandro Santiago?

Alexandro Santiago is the current WBC bantamweight world champion and is looking to defend his title against Junto Nakatani. The Mexican boxer has established himself as one of the top fighters in the 118-pound division.

Santiago turned pro in 2011 and steadily rose through the bantamweight ranks, winning regional silverware before earning his first world title shot in 2019. He came short against talented Filipino boxer John Riel Casimero for the WBO bantamweight belt.

Since winning the WBC title in 2023, Santiago has yet to make his first title defense. His most recent victory came against future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire last year, winning by unanimous decision in a back-and-forth battle. Santiago proved his mettle in defeating a former world champion legend.

With a record of 26-3-5 and 14 knockouts, he is one of the most formidable forces in the bantamweight division. His style is based on technical boxing skills and quick combinations, wearing down opponents with constant pressure. The Mexican has proven he can box effectively on the outside or trade punches on the inside.

At 28 years old, Santiago is in his physical prime and on a high after the big win over Donaire.

Why Bet on Junto Nakatani?

Junto Nakatani enters this fight with an unblemished record of 26-0 with 19 knockouts. The 26-year-old Japanese boxer is a former WBC flyweight champion and current WBA super flyweight champion and is looking to capture a third-world title against Santiago.

Nakatani turned pro in 2015 and quickly made a name for himself, winning the WBC junior flyweight title in his fifth professional fight. After amassing an impressive 16-0 record, he challenged WBC flyweight champion Cristofer Rosales in 2019, winning by knockout to claim his first world title at just 21 years old.

Nakatani is a gifted offensive southpaw with quick hands and power in both fists. He likes to control the action from the center of the ring behind a stiff left jab and look for openings to unload heavy combinations. In addition, his footwork is outstanding, allowing him to slip in and out of range before opponents mount their attacks.

If Nakatani can defeat Santiago, he will become only the third Japanese fighter to hold world titles in three weight classes. With his aggressive style and growing popularity in Japan, many see him as the country’s next great legend.

Final Betting Analysis: Alexandro Santiago vs. Junto Nakatani

Santiago’s clearest path to victory is to use his height and reach advantage to keep Nakatani on the outside. The Mexican’s strong lateral movement and jab will allow him to pepper Nakatani from a distance. However, Santiago can’t simply stay on the outside. He needs to mix in power punches to Nakatani’s body to slow the Japanese fighter down.

For Nakatani, applying smart pressure will be critical. He will need to cut off the ring and not let Santiago escape. Getting past Santiago’s long jab is easier said than done, but Nakatani must come inside to connect his vaunted left hook to the body and overturn his right hand. The Japanese fighter is the much bigger puncher, so exchanging fists at close range greatly favors him. 

Ultimately, Santiago must use his boxing skills to keep Nakatani at bay, while the latter needs to get in where his powerful fists can do great damage. Whoever can best implement his game plan will likely get the upper hand on Saturday night, and we’ll side with the local fighter for a sixth-round KO.

Go for a victory for Nakatani at 1.145. If you bet $100 at such odds, you could get $14.5 for a total payout of $114.5

Alexandro Santiago vs. Junto Nakatani Betting Pick: Junto Nakatani.

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