By: Kirk Jackson
It appears the highly publicized bout between Floyd Mayweather and Tenshin Nasukawa will not manifest after all.
Mayweather shocked the world earlier this week, revealing he signed with Japanese mixed martial arts promotions company RIZIN Fighting Federation, to fight 20-year-old Japanese kick boxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
But the fight, Mayweather now claims, is void. He has called it off. In an Instagram statement now deleted, after he had left Japan and flown back to the US, Mayweather claimed he had been duped and that the fight was meant to be an exhibition for “a small group of wealthy spectators.”
Obviously there’s much to dissect and digest as there is a bit of confusion as to the original terms and conditions of the proposed bout, and what resulted in cancellation.
Fortunately for us terms of the contract leaked out.
The original rules of combat were never released to the public – being as it seemed they weren’t agreed to upon completion of the contract, or at the very least there was a lack of transparency from one side of the negotiating table. This lack of transparency was hinted on Mayweather’s Instagram page.
“Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the ‘Rizen Fighting Federation,” Mayweather’s Instagram stated.
“What I was originally informed of by Brent Johnson of ‘One Entertainment’ was that this was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee. This exhibition was previously arranged as a ‘Special Bout’ purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide.”
According to Mayweather, the press conference he and Nasukawa held earlier in the week to discuss the fight caught him and his team off-guard because of the details discussed. Mayweather claims they did not speak up at the press conference because they didn’t want to create a disturbance.
For his part Mayweather has since apologized to his fans again via Instagram.
“I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval. For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry.”
Now that the dust settled, even though this is an opportunity lost, it’s also an opportunity gained. In spite of the criticism from fellow boxing promoters, jealous mixed martial arts fighters, writers and even some boxers, this is a win for Mayweather and illustrates his command in the combat world.
Again for a moment in time, he illustrates the ability to command attention and command the big bucks in case there were those doubting.
He is doing the things that Conor McGregor and Canelo Alvarez want to do. He sets trends and breaks ground, but because of who he is, he doesn’t warrant the positive attention that comes with it.
Any publicity negative or positive is still publicity and keeps your name in the news cycle. People in the United States and worldwide now know of Nasukawa and RIZIN.
Mayweather has the attention he seeks.
Not to count another person’s pockets, as it’s uncertain if Mayweather needs the money, but this is more so a testament to the attention and potential amount of money that can be earned. The cherry on top is if he can make this amount of money with the minimal amount of risk.
Which is something Mayweather has been accused from by his critics regardless in spite of the weight classes climbed, the challenges he overcame, the twenty-plus world champions and multiple Hall of Famers he defeated.
But let this be a lesson learned to fully read through the terms and conditions of a contract before signing off and agreeing.
As mentioned earlier, all eyes again re on Mayweather, so what’s next?
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.