The combat sports world has been thrown a massive curveball, as Japan’s Rizin FF promotion has announced that Floyd Mayweather Jr. is going to battle rising, striking sensation, Tenshin Nasukawa at its New Year’s Eve card…
BJ Penn.com’s Tom Taylor was reportedly the first to report the upcoming contest, and on Sunday, Rizin held a press conference to announce the fight. At the presser, Rizin boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara said the bout will take place under “special rules”, but it’s not known yet what that will entail. Sakakibara also had this to say about why Rizin decided to partner with Mayweather Jr. (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“I think my shortest answer to that is the fact that now we are aligned to achieve something together and that is hitting a new challenge, taking a step forward to whatever wonderful thing that we can create together,” Sakakibara said.
And Mayweather Jr. reportedly said the following about the deal:
“Rizin has done a remarkable job with the fighters,” Mayweather said. “I look forward to giving you guys entertainment come December 31, but my relationship with Rizin, it doesn’t stop just here. I look forward to taking this worldwide.”
If you’re not up to speed on who Nasukawa is, he’s one of Japan’s fastest rising stars, due to the fact he’s only 20 year’s old, has gone 27-0 in kickboxing and 4-0 in MMA. To see an example of his striking brilliance, click here.
At the aforementioned press conference, Nasukawa had this to say about the upcoming opportunity:
“I would probably say that this is my biggest event in life, so far,” Nasukawa said. “And I’m very happy that this is going to materialize.”
“Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past,” he continued, referring to Mayweather’s 50-0 pro boxing record. “And I would like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change the history and I will show that to you, so please stay tuned.
So, this is pretty big and surprising news to say the least. Earlier this year, Mayweather Jr. (50-0) repeatedly teased and or trolled that he might move into MMA, following his stoppage win over Conor McGregor last August. More recently, the 41 year-old boxer even talked about fighting Khabib Nurmagomedov.
International broadcast plans were reportedly not announced, but one would assume this will be a pay-per-view offering here in North America. Rizin 14 is expected to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.