After years of talk that Floyd Mayweather would fight for an MMA promotion, the undefeated boxer will come out of retirement once more for someone in the realm of MMA – just not for the expected promoter or the expected opponent.
Appearing at a press conference for Rizin Fighting Federation, Japan’s premier MMA and kickboxing promotion and heir apparent to PRIDE, Mayweather is set to take on 20-year old kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve.
While the fight was made official for Rizin 14 at the Super Saitama Arena, the rules and regulations for the bout have not been announced. With an exhibition bout expected, Rizin’s promoter, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, did offer that the fight would be under ‘special rules’ but offered no news on whether there would be a proposed weight class or the fight would operate under an open weight.
Mayweather (50-0 – boxing) was last seen competing against Conor McGregor in August 2017 where the undefeated boxer coasted to victory against the mixed martial artist before a 10th round TKO.
Nasukawa (27-0 kickboxing, 4-0 MMA) meanwhile last competed in another exhibition bout as the undefeated fighter defeated Kyoji Horiguchi in a three-round contest.
YouTube: 【CM】Cygames presents RIZIN.14
Speaking at the press conference, Mayweather praised his proposed opponent and provided a glimpse into why he took the bout.
“He’s young, fast, [has] youth, undefeated like myself, and what the people want is excitement and that’s why I chose Japan,” Mayweather said. “You guys know about boxing, you guys know about fighting. I’m not really worried about the rules. I’m pretty sure that will get sorted out in the next couple weeks. My thing is just coming over here to display my talent and put on a show for the people.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to go outside the U.S. and go into another arena and display talent as a professional because I did it as an amateur.”
Nasukawa would also offer his thoughts on the contest and was confident in his abilities to defeat Mayweather.
“When I was offered this, I accepted right away without any delay whatsoever,” Nasukawa said through a translator. “I would probably say this is my biggest event in life so far and I’m very happy this is going to materialize. I’m a little surprised myself. Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past and I’d like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change history. I will show that to you, so please stay tuned.”