Mercado looking past ‘phoney’ Nakathila

Jeremia Nakathila in the gym with trainer SBK Kaperu. File photo

American prospect Ernesto ‘Tito’ Mercado Jr branded Jeremiah ‘Lowkey’ Nakathila a “sub-fighter and a phoney” ahead of their super lightweight clash in Ontario tomorrow.

Mercado (21) believes fighting Nakathila is a necessary footnote on his trajectory to the top and doubts that the Namibian will pose much of a threat.

“I think it’s going to be a great fight. It’s a fight that’s going to put me in the next category with all of these guys like Loma [Vasiliy Lomachenko], and Tank [Gervonta Davis].

“They’ve been here before. So, a statement in this fight will definitely mean a lot,” he told TheRingDigital in an interview on Wednesday.

Mercado is confident he will come out on top against the experienced Nakathila, who is 12 years his senior, and has fought more notable opponents.

“I’ve got to make him uncomfortable. Obviously when the lights get too bright, he can’t handle it. I’m going to take him into a territory he’s not familiar with,” he said.

“We’ve had a lot of sacrifices to make, certain lifestyles we have had to give up. So, we didn’t come this far to let Jeremiah Nakathila mess it all up.

“We’re here to beat him and keep going, and get these sub-boxers out of the way, because we think they’re phonies.”

Mercado has won all four of his fights this year, beating rugged contenders Henry Lundy and Xolisani Ndongeni along the way, while he also stopped former world title challenger Jayson Velez last October

“I’m here to take these tough guys out. Unfortunately, I can’t get them in the ring. So, Nakathila is the one I’ve got to get the statement through first. I feel I’m close, I can be that guy who can do real damage in the sport,” he said.

Nakathila has had an uneven last 30 months in the United States (US).

He went the 12-round distance in a unanimous decision loss against Shakur Stevenson in July 2021, then demolished Miguel Berchelt inside six rounds in March 2022, before controversially getting stopped by Raymond Muratalla inside two rounds in May.

Nakathila was complimentary of Mercado, but he believes he will have the measure of him.

“Getting this fight [abroad] is not by luck, you have to earn it. He [Mercado] is tough, and I’m tough. So, I think it’s going to be a good fight,” he told reporters before leaving for the US.

“I’m looking forward to beating this guy and have a better end to the year. I feel I’m in a good shape to beat any guy. We’re on a big mission to represent the ‘Land of the Brave’. We’re going to accomplish the mission,” Nakathila said.

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