Mayweather Wants More Exhibition Bouts
By: Sean Crose
Floyd Mayweather has announced his desire to return to Japan this summer to pick up what he surely feels will be another easy payday after thrashing kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa last December, for a check said to be between nine and ten million dollars. But, according to TMZ, that’s not all. “Floyd Mayweather,” the site claims “says the exhibition fight business will be VERY good to him in 2019 — with 4 or 5 bouts lined up this year, which will pay him around $80 MILLION!!!” Mayweather’s last official fight was a wildly hyped novelty match with UFC star Conor McGregor back in 2017. Boasting a record of 50-0, the Las Vegas based fighter now appears comfortable to earn himself what most would consider to be easy paydays.
“This time,” TMZ states, “Floyd says he’s fighting a former Japanese boxer (he’s not 100% sure who the guy is) — but tells us he’ll cash a $10 million check to go 3 rounds with his mystery opponent.” Mayweather is known to talk off the cuff, but if his stated exhibition agenda is true, the chances of him rematching arch rival Manny Pacquaio any time in the near future (neither man is getting younger, by the way) are slim. The original match between Mayweather and Pacquiao, was the most lucrative fight in history. A rematch would arguably do healthy business, as well. Still, Mayweather, who seemed to have warmed to the idea of a second go with Pacquiao for a bit, seems to have his mind on less challenging fare.
TMZ rhetorically asks why Mayweather isn’t engaging with the current crop of young fighters out there who would be more than happy to give the old master a shot. With names like Terence Crawford, Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Pacquiao, and others, some very interesting matches could await. To his credit, however, Mayweather is honest about this intentions – which include avoiding real challenges at this point in his illustrious career. “It’s all about being smart,” Mayweather is quoted as saying. “My faculties are very important.”
Again, though, Mayweather is known to talk off the cuff. No one really knows what the man is going to do next. The iconic fighter genuinely seems to love his money. And the prospect of easy paydays in Japan, if they truly do present themselves, surely must be enticing. Mayweather demolished Nasukawa late last year. If he can make the same kind of money to do the same thing again to another fighter, it might be a safe bet to assume he’ll cash in. This being Mayweather, however, no one can be sure what route the man may ultimately opt to take.
Mayweather Proves (Once Again) That Boxing is A Dangerous Endeavor
By: Sean Crose
John Kavanaugh, the trainer of MMA superstar Conor McGregor, is reportedly uneasy about McGregor fighting again unless it’s an IMPORTANT fight – a rematch with one of his former top MMA foes, perhaps. Why has the man behind the UFCs biggest superstar gotten hesitant about his fighter’s future? One of the factors is reportedly that McGregor was knocked down by a Khabib Nurmagomedov punch during McGregor’s last fight. As far as Kavanaugh is concerned, the old Conor would never have endured such a shot. It’s easy to take this report as an indication that perhaps McGregor, who is nothing if not game, is simply starting to slip after too many cage wars. Then, however, his 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather comes to mind.
Something few talk about is how badly beaten up McGregor was during that fight. Sure, the man had some good rounds, but as the bout wore on, Mayweather laid a beating on the guy, a slow, methodical beating. In the tenth round, Mayweather landed 16-20 clean and unanswered head shots before referee Robert Byrd wisely stepped in and stopped the fight. That’s 16-20 shots, from a professional boxer. Not just a professional boxer, but a professional boxer who most consider to be the best of his generation. Such things have an impact…just as Mayweather’s one sided thrashing of Japanese MMA star Tenshin Nasukawa today will undoubtedly impact Nasukawa’s psyche and perhaps his future career.
Boxing isn’t like other combat sports. It relies on slickness and fluidity in a way others don’t. For this reason, some fans – and even a few participants – of other combat sports tend to write boxing off as a wimpy cousin, something that a “real fighter” doesn’t need to take too seriously. Such thinking is fine outside the ring. Once the participant from another sport engages in an actual boxing match, however, things can literally become dangerous. I’ve little doubt George Foreman could have crushed Muhammad Ali in a parking lot. The two men didn’t fight in a parking lot, however, they fought in a boxing ring – and Ali laid Foreman out. Something to think about.
Nasukawa was – and still should be – seen as an incredibly impressive athlete. Watch clips of him that don’t involve Mayweather and it’s hard not to be impressed. He’s a buzzsaw with skill, a guy who can use his hands and feet with frightening speed and precision. It’s easy to see why people thought it was a good idea for him to fight Mayweather. Like McGregor, Nasukawa’s camp probably assumed that Floyd couldn’t really hurt their man. Mayweather’s never been known as a power puncher, after all. What, they probably asked themselves, was the worst that could happen against a 41 year old former ring great? It’s doubtful anyone on Nasukawa’s team thought for a second that Mayweather would demolish their man the way he did today.
For the uninitiated, the fight didn’t make it past the first round. Floyd, smiling in a way that was reminiscent of a prime Jack Johnson, simply walked his man down and punched the guy’s lights out, dropping the far smaller Nasukawa a total of three times before the poor kid’s corner wisely stepped in and stopped things. Afterwards, the twenty year old Nasukawa cried, while the 41 year old Mayweather danced. There was reason, after all, for the man to dance. Word is he earned nine million dollars for under three minutes’ work. Some are now saying the fight was fixed. That seems like silliness to me. The only thing that seems fixed is a mindset that says Floyd isn’t a dangerous fighter…and that boxing, at least in relation to other combat sports, isn’t that dangerous of an endeavor.
Enter at your own risk.
RIZIN 14: Mayweather Quickly Ends Exhibition Bout with Tenshin Nasukawa
By: William Holmes
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has taken the surprising move to go to Japan to face Japanese Kickboxing Prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa in a special three round exhibition bout. Unfortunately for American fight fans, this event was not available in the United States.
Mayweather was late to arriving at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan and the co-main event and main event of the Rizin card was delayed until his arrival.
The walk ins for Mayweather and Tenshin finally happened around 9:00AM EST in the United States and both boxers waited in the ring as both the Japanese and American National Anthems were sung.
The size difference was readily apparent between the two as Mayweather was the taller, bigger, and longer boxer.
Tenshin Nasukawa has an impressive combat sports record of 32-0. Mayweather’s boxing record stands at 50-0.
This bout did not count on their official records.
The opening round starts off with Nasukawa circling towards the left jab of Mayweather, who had a gigantic smile on his face and was slowly walking Nasukawa down. Nasukawa lands a straight left on Mayweather after Mayweather misses a straight right. Mayweather landed a good body shot and a left hook and Nasukawa goes to the mat. He gets up by the count of five.
Mayweather is just too big, quick, and strong for Nasukawa.
Mayweather lands another left hook that sends Nasukawa off balance. Mayweather lands a right uppercut on Nasukawa who goes to the mat again. Nasukawa gets up and looks hurt and wobbly. Nasukawa is firing bombs at Mayweather but gets knocked down for the third time in this fight. Nasukawa’s corner throws in the towel before he can take any more damage.
Floyd Mayweather made short work of Nasukawa in this exhibition bout.
Is This A Real Fight Or Just A Money Grab?
By: Hans Themistode
For the 5,000th time Floyd Mayweather (50-0, 27 KOs) will once again come out of retirement to step back in to the world of combat. This time however will be a bit different as Floyd will be taking on kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa in a three round exhibition matchup on New Years Eve in Japan.
Are we supposed to believe this is a true fight like Floyd’s 49 victories? Or is it more along the lines of his 50th?
You remember the 50th fight of Floyd’s career don’t you?
It was against none other than UFC star fighter Conor McGregor. The matchup was built up to be a real fight and the toughest of his career. Fans all around the world soaked it in. After all Floyd was at the time 40 years of age and two years removed from his last professional fight. Conor on the other hand was not only much younger but he was also the significantly bigger man as well.
With that being said, those that knew boxing understood that Connor had no chance of winning that bout.
Floyd proceeded to do what many knew he would do. Punish Connor. Sure there were a few tough moments for Floyd but he still managed to bully and ultimately stop Connor in the 10th round. There was no doubt as to who would win that matchup.
Does his contest against Tenshin Nasukawa fall into the category of more farce than fight? Not quite.
So am I saying that this will be more along the lines of Floyd’s first 49 fights of his career? His resume is one of the very best ever. He has defeated a who’s who of all-time great boxers such as Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto to name a few. Should you place this bout amongst those?
No. This contest won’t be in the same stratosphere as those contest were.
So where does that leave us?
It seems as though we are right in the middle.
To many this is viewed as a money grab and rightfully so. It is after all a three round exhibition match that win, lose or draw won’t count on either mans record.
Now I really know what you’re thinking. This is absolutely a money grab right? Listen, with Floyd everything boils down to money. However, his opponent Tenshin Nasukawa is a real fighter. By the age of 18 he had already accumulated a kickboxing record of 99-5. His kickboxing record is 26-0. He has also managed to win many titles along the way. The word phenom is thrown around loosely but that would best describe Tenshin Nasukawa.
The details of exactly how much Floyd is expected to pocket from this contest remains a mystery. The money man has stated on numerous occasions over the years that it would take a nine figure payday to get him to fight again so we can assume that he will possibly receive about the same for this bout.
So once again is this a money grab? Yes and no?
For Floyd “Money” Mayweather it absolutely is. He lives a lavish lifestyle. Owns numerous expensive properties and some of the most exotic cars you can think of. With that being said, that kind of lifestyle is a hard one to keep up with. If Floyd viewed this as something more than just a cash grab then he wouldn’t care if this fight showed up on his record. It is perceived as an easy win, right?
The one thing Floyd cares about more than money is that shiny 0 in his loss column. To risk that against a complete unknown is something he will never place a price tag on. Knowing that record won’t be affected regardless of the outcome is a win-win situation for Floyd.
Who cares what happens.
Tenshin Nasukawa cares.
This is the biggest contest of his career and he will be looking to put on an absolute show. A win for him (albeit not counting record wise) will change his life forever. Floyd will still walk around with a spotless record but the taste of defeat will still be there.
For one man this is just an easy way to make nine figures once again. For the other it is his chance to make history.
Tenshin Nasukawa Confident He’ll Be The Man To Beat Mayweather
By: Sean Crose
The older one gets, the less one’s body performs as it once did. That’s true for anyone, including all time great athletes. Still, it appears Vegas odds are in favor of Floyd Mayweather, (who is now in his forties, and who hasn’t fought since he punched out UFC star Conor McGregor well over a year ago) getting the best of young Japanese MMA wunderkind Tanshin Nasukawa when the two men meet in Japan on December 31st. Not that it may matter. This being an exhibition fight, and a three round exhibition fight at that, there will reportedly be no winner declared should the fight go the distance.
Still, Nasukawa, who is 28-0 in kickboxing thinks he will rise to the occasion in what will essentially be his boxing debut. “He says such provocative stuff I feel like kicking him (Mayweather),” the twenty year old has said. Such a move might delight MMA fans, but it’s highly unlikely to happen. A legitimate athlete in his own sport, Nasukawa is man who, like McGregor, is intent on mastering a new sport. He’s even worked with Jorge Linares in the lead-up to December 31st, an indication of Nasukawa’s seriousness walking in, an experience he says will prove quite helpful.
“He taught me how to find a way to land a punch against (Mayweather),” Nasukawa claimed (via The Japan Times). “He’s got an outstanding defense, and told me some certain punches against him.” Mayweather, it should be noted, will be walking in with several inches on his younger foe. Nasukawa will also be fighting at a far higher weight than the 126 pounds he’s used to. Yet the fighter is clearly eager to shock to the world. “I’m planning,” he says, “to show moves that will surprise him…I’m going to capitalize on the kickboxing techniques that I’ve learned.”
Mayweather, of course, has the comfort of being the A-side. A worldwide celebrity known to carefully orchestrate matches in such a way that he has every possible advantage.The 50-0 Mayweather has notably chosen a smaller man from another sport to engage in. What’s more, Mayweather now appears to view himself as an entertainer rather than an active boxer. Nasukawa feels his opponent is “not taking the bout seriously.” While this may or may not be true, it’s always worth noting Mayweather probably wouldn’t be fighting Nasukawa at all at his age, if certain things weren’t clearly in his favor. Not that it bothers Nasukawa.
“I can change the world,” he says, “with my fist.”
Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa Quotes and Exhibition Match Fact Sheet
Undefeated boxing legend Floyd “Money” Mayweather and sensational RIZIN Fighting Federation star Tenshin Nasukawa will battle in a special exhibition fight on New Year’s Eve from Saitama Prefecture Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
See below for quotes gathered from the media workout and press availability at Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas:
“This is a great way for me to go out there and give people some entertainment. It’s an exhibition match, but it’s giving me a chance to do something different.
“I love competing against fighters from all walks of life like in my amateur days. It’s all about entertainment. Nine minutes of entertainment. It’s going to be amazing.
“I’m in the entertainment business. That’s what I go out there to do. I love to do this. I’m working out to put on a show for three rounds.
“I’m going to go out there, have fun and do what I do. I’m enjoying life and I’m going to enjoy this experience.”
“This is my first time coming to Las Vegas and I’m very excited to be here. The fight is very close and I’m training hard every day to face Mayweather and leave a mark.
“This is a great opportunity and we’re happy to take it. I’m going to put everything out there and show my strengths. I think that I’m the faster fighter. I’m going to use my weapons against him.
“There’s never been a Japanese fighter to face Floyd Mayweather in the ring. As an athlete, this is something that’s a great honor and a challenging task. I’d like to make a big impression.
“I want to get the whole fight community, the whole country of Japan and the entire world involved in this fight. I’m going to go in there believing in myself and ready to prove myself.”
The attraction will be based on the following rules and regulations:
– Three minutes per round for three rounds
– Straight boxing rules
– Both will wear either RIZIN 8 ounce gloves
– Weight: 147lbs/67.7kg
– No judges
– This will be full contact competition, but the bout is not going on boxing or MMA records
A 12-time boxing world champion in five weight classes, Mayweather is one of the greatest to ever enter the ring, buoyed by box office success that saw him shatter nearly all of the revenue records in the sport’s history. Born in Grand Rapids, Mich., and fighting out of Las Vegas, he is the only fighter to have headlined four events that each generated more than 2 million pay-per-view buys. Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated have all named Mayweather the world’s highest paid athlete multiple times throughout a career in which he defeated 24 world champions.
Tenshin Nasukawa was born in 1998 and trained in Karate and kickboxing from an early age by his trainer/father. Tenshin made his professional debut in 2014 at the age of 15 and has since claimed multiple world championships in kickboxing while remaining unbeaten. Tenshin is now the face for the Rizin Fighting Federation and their biggest headliner to date. Now aged just 20, Tenshin is a Japanese sensation whose main sponsor is a gaming giant called Cygames.
NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA – RIZIN CEO
Nobuyuki Sakakibara is a Japanese businessman most well-known for his role as boss of Pride Fighting Championship. Sakakibara sold Pride to Lorenzo Fertita of Zuffa LLC in 2007 in a widely publicized deal. In 2015 he founded Rizin, a new organisations that mixed different fight styles in a single event. Rizin is now the most watched fighting event in Japan.
Rizin Fighting Federation has held 15 mega events since the promotion’s debut in December of 2015. Rizin is now recognized as the most watched combat sports event in Japan since Pride Fighting Championship. RIZIN has been a staple on primetime Japanese national television with a five-hour New Year’s Eve slot and watched in over 5.5 million households.
ONE Entertainment is a pioneer in the world of Entertainment Consulting, with over 20 years of experience in servicing celebrity clients and brands worldwide. ONE focuses on monetizing celebrity and entertainment brands by creating a customized approach for each client that maximizes exposure and profitability. ONE has concluded deals on six continents in over 22 countries and growing every day. The team at ONE has experience in all facets of entertainment, and they can serve your needs in film, TV, music, sports, live events, digital and entertainment business development.
Potential Mayweather Opponent Nasukawa Called “The Michael Jordan Of Kickboxing”
By: Sean Crose
Former UFC fighter Daron Cruickshank, who is now with the RIZN combat sports outfit, was supposed to be on the December 31st Floyd Mayweather-Tenshin Nasukawa card in Japan. Now that the Mayweather-Nasukawa match has been put off, only to be back on again, the American fighter spoke his mind to TMZ about Mayweather’s chances against Nasukawa. “He’s like the Michael Jordan, over there, of kickboxing,” said Cruckshank of the Japanese star. “If they did a kickboxing match,” he added, “I think Tenshin would win. If they did a regular kickboxing match, Tenshin would win.” And if it were a standard boxing match? “In a boxing match,” Cruckshank said, “I don’t think he (Nasukawa) would stand a chance.”
Photo Credit: @TeppenTenshin Twitter Account
Although he feels his RIZN teammate could potentially beat Mayweather “depending on the fight,” Cruickshank clearly wants to see the two men face off regardless. “He is super fast,” Cruickshank said of Nasukawa. “I really like to watch him fight.” Although he described Nasukawa as being “really exciting,” Cruickshank made it plain in the brief video interview that the fight, should it still happen, would be merely an exhibition. “It’s not like a real fight,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.” The assertion that the bout would be an exhibition, were it to actually go down, was backed up recently by Mayweather, who told TMZ that “it’s gonna be a little boxing exhibition, no kicking at all…I’m moving around with the guy for nine minutes, and of course it’s gonna be the highest paid exhibition ever.”
The fight world was stunned this autumn when Mayweather, via a Japanese press conference, unexpectedly announced he would be fighting Nasukawa. The former pound for pound great abruptly stepped away from the fight just days later, only to come back and say a battle between he and Nasukawa would indeed happen.
Photo Credit: @TeppenTenshin Twitter Account
“From what I know,” said Cruickhsank, “I think there was…a language barrier” between Mayweather and RIZN. Cruickshank also made it obvious he’d still love to fight on a Mayweather-Nasukawa card. At the moment, however, it seems to be business as usual for Mayweather. Recent reports have the man spending over five million dollars during a recent shopping escapade. There’s also a talk of a fight with fellow Conor McGregor conqueror Khabib Nurmagomedov still floating in the air, as well as a potential rematch against arch rival Manny Pacquiao, who will be facing Mayweather protege Adrien Broner early in 2019.
Although he’s reportedly retired from boxing – at least on the most highly competitive level he long dominated, Mayweather still wants the world to know he’s willing to make money. “It’s a no-brainer,” Mayweather said in a recent video. “Just because I’m retired from boxing. I still make appearances worldwide and make a ton of money.”
Crisis Aborted for Floyd Mayweather
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?
Mayweather Announces He Never Agreed to Official Bout with Tenshin Nasukawa
By: Sean Crose
“First and foremost,” Floyd Mayweather claimed in a Wednesday Instagram post, “I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa.” For those not in the know, it was announced just days ago, and to great fanfare, that Mayweather would be facing undefeated kickboxing and MMA prodigy Nasukawa in a match under unspecified rules in Japan (Nasukawa’s home country) on December 31st, traditionally a big day for combat sports in Japan. Mayweather said he was making the announcement now that he was “ back on U.S. soil after a long and disappointing trip to Tokyo.”
Photo Credit: Floyd Mayweather Jr. Twitter Account
“I now have the time,” he stated in the post “to address you, my fans and the media in regards to the upcoming event on December 31st that was recently announced.” Mayweather went on to claim “with all due respect,” that he had “never heard of him (Nasukawa) until this recent trip to Japan.” According to Mayweather, he had been “asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the ‘Rizen Fighting Federation’.”
The bout, Mayweather went on to say, “was to be an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee.” Mayweather explained that “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.”
“Once I arrived to the press conference,” he wrote, “my team and I were completely derailed by the new direction this event was going.” Mayweather added that “we should have put a stop to it immediately.” The Vegas based star also added that he wanted to “sincerely apologize to my fans for the very misleading information that was announced during this press conference.” The 50-0 boxer claimed that the abrupt nature of the proceedings had a lot to do with the subsequent miscommunication.
“I can assure you,” he stated, “that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval.” Furthermore, Mayweather argued that “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.”
The man largely regarded as the greatest boxer of his generation concluded by stating he is “a retired boxer that earns an unprecedented amount of money, globally, for appearances, speaking engagements and occasional small exhibitions.” Boxing Insider will keep readers updated if and when further details arise.
Who is Tenshin Nasukawa, Floyd Mayweather’s Next Opponent?
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.