You read that correctly, and no this is not a joke. Floyd Mayweather is set to face 20-year-old Japanese kickboxing sensation, Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin 14 this December 31st.
The initial reports appeared to be that Mayweather was set to face off for a second time agains his long time for, Manny Pacquiao.
However, news broke last night that ‘Money’ had indeed signed with the Japanese based MMA promotion Rizin in order to face Nasukawa.
A number of details are yet to be disclosed, not least – the rule set. Will the fight be straight up boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, MMA – who knows? We can’t see Floyd allowing kicks in any fight. As veteran UFC commentator Joe Rogan points out, any trained fighter who can utilise leg kicks would likely lead to a very short night for Floyd, and his first loss since the 1996 Olympics.
Mayweather has toyed with the idea of moving outside of boxing ever since May/Mac last summer. It looked increasing unlikely as Floyd reached the age of 41. Money, however, had other ideas. This announcement last night caught the combat sports media off guard, fittingly as Floyd does so well inside the ring.
Who is Tenshin Nasukawa?
The 20-year-old kick-boxer is somewhat of a sensation in Japan. He fights at 126lbs and is a multiple time world champion in the sport.
Holding a 27-0 record in kickboxing with 21KO’s. In a sport where fights are generally less than 5 rounds, that is some record. He also holds a 4-0 record in MMA, with 2KO’s and 1 Submission.
Notably he even holds a win over Amnat Ruenroeng. The Thai fighter was an undefeated world champion as he held the IBF world bantamweight boxing title from 2014-2016. Nasukawa KO’ed the former world champion with a left hook to the body.
What is Rizin?
Rizin is a Japanese MMA promotion that was born out of the ashes of the former MMA sensation – Pride Fighting Championships.
Pride was the former home of MMA legends, Fedor Emelianenko, Wanderlai Silva, Dan Henderson and Mikel Cro Cop (among many others). In the early 2000’s it was the premier MMA promotion in the world, and regularly held shows with 50,000+ in attendance – notably at the Saitama Super Arena on notable occasions, where the Mayweather fight is taking place.
Pride was shut down after it was bought out by the UFC, and several high ranking officials were found to have links to Japanese organised crime.
In all honesty, who knows what to make of this fight. The two are at opposite ends of the age spectrum, in different sports and we still don’t know what the rules are going be.
That said are we going to watch? Of course we are.