By: Oliver McManus
Floyd Mayweather is set to return to the ring on December 31st, in Tokyo, against an MMA superstar… no, it’s not Khabib Nurmagomedov but rather Tenshin Nasukawa – the 20 year old Japanese kickboxer.
The question on many fight fans lips is “just who is Tenshin Nasukawa?” and it’s a very valid point because few outside of Japan will have heard of the diminutive figure – standing 5ft5in – but let’s try and establish some facts about him.
photo Credit: Nobuyuki Sakakibara Twitter Account
A two weight champion within RISE, Nasukawa has held belts at flyweight and featherweight with that particular organisation and was the 2017 RIZIN kickboxing featherweight champion so he has pedigree.
Enrolled by his father into a karate class aged five, Nasukawa soon turned his attention to kickboxing – where he honed a natural aggression and power. Having dedicated himself to the sport, the youngster accrued 111 amateur contests with a mere five losses before turning professional.
That power I talked about is evidenced by his 22 knockouts as a professional with a particularly pleasing flying knee against Yamato Fujita – funnily enough on New Years Eve last year – but he’s well-rounded enough to be able to finish opponents via punches and submissions.
Of course we don’t know the rule set or the weight category being stipulated for December 31st but if, as many believe, it will be a cross-over of both MMA and boxing then you’d expect this to play into the favour of Nasukawa who, despite his age, is one of the most experienced and mature fighters around.
He is no stranger to mixing it with professional boxers, nor with coming out on top, owing to a contest he had in February last year with, former IBF champion, Amnat Ruenroeng. As part of KNOCK OUT Vol. 1, Nasukawa emerged victorious with a sumptuous left hook to the body in the fourth round.
Fighting is in his blood and his sister – Riri – is already making waves in the professional ranks despite being just 16 years of age. She made her debut in June, a winning start, and will next compete on November 11th, having racked up 33 fights as an amateur with a 90% win rate.
A surprise to many in the MMA / boxing community who, largely, were expecting either MayPac 2 or Mayweather-Nurmagomedov to take place, Tenshin admitted he was caught a little off guard by the offer – “It was a surprise offer but I accepted without hesitation, It’s the biggest moment in my life and I want to be the man who changes history. I’ll do that with these fists, with one punch – just watch.”
And watch we will, whether you think it’s a freak show or a miss-match you won’t be able to not watch. December 31st, Tokyo, you can feel the Tenshin Rizin.
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