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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Nakash-Muller Preview

Last Man Standing, an ambitious cruiserweight tournament promoted by Rodney Berman of Golden Gloves Promotions, starts this Saturday. In the first round, Ran Nakash will face Johnny Muller of South Africa at the Emperor's Palace in Muller's home country.

Nakash (26-1, 18 KOs) is the heavy favorite to win on Saturday and to take the entire tournament. Has the most experience and has fought the toughest competition. Nakash is the lone non-African and success in this tournament will likely increase his fan base within South Africa.

Nakash is a come-forward fighter who loves attacking his opponent's body. He possesses an iron chin. His weakness has been stamina. Against Victor Barragan in July of 2010, Nakash found going ten rounds to be difficult in a unanimous decision victory.

In his world title shot in 2011 against Marco Huck, stamina was Nakash's undoing. After a strong first seven rounds, with only the fifth clearly going to Huck, the Krav Maga instructor faded during the second half of the contest. Still, he deserved no worse than a draw, but instead received a lopsided unanimous decision loss in Huck's adopted country of Germany. In a unanimous decision victory over Derek Bryant this year, Nakash did not experience the same stamina issues as he had in the previous two bouts. The Bryant fight was only scheduled for eight rounds, however.

The good news for Nakash is the match against Muller is scheduled for eight rounds. Muller (10-1-2, 7 KOs) is a heavy underdog. He's fought as a heavyweight five times, but his last four have been at light heavyweight. In his sole loss, he was KOed against a rather nondescript man in this tournament. One draw was against a 7-7-1 fighter and the other was against a winless opponent. All of his fights have been in South Africa against local opposition.

Muller's only advantage is familiarity with his surroundings. He has fought at the Emperor's Palace nine times.

At this week's press conference, Nakash remarked, "I don’t know Johnny Muller at all, but I trained hard and it’s going to be a great fight." Nakash is hoping three wins in this tournament will lead to another title shot.

He explained, "After my fight against Huck, I haven't stopped dreaming about when my next title fight will come. It is all I think about every day. For me to fulfill that dream, I must win the Super 8, and that is exactly what I intend on doing."

The subsequent rounds are scheduled to take place on September 22 and November 10.

Read more about the competitors participating in the tournament.

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