UPDATE: After arriving back in the States, Mayweather released this statement on his Instagram denying the New Year’s Eve bout. Sounds like the people behind Rizin weren’t taking no for answer when Floyd was in their backyard. Might be wise to stay out of the Orient for the foreseeable future.
Floyd Mayweather has announced what will possibly be his first fight outside traditional boxing rules when he faces kickboxing champion Teshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
The surprise move, already dubbed the “super bout challenge” at a Monday press conference held by the Japanese promotion RIZIN, will take place under rules that have not yet been determined.
“As far as the weight class and the rules, we’ll get that situated in the next few weeks,” Mayweather said.
Mayweather last fought at junior middleweight, defeating MMA champion Conor McGregor by a tenth round TKO in August 2017. Mayweather has always competed under boxing rules.
The 20-year-old Nasukawa is world-renown in kickboxing, sporting a perfect record 27-0 (20 KOs). Standing at 5’5, he last competed at featherweight, defeating Kyoji Horiguchi by unanimous decision on September 30. He has two years of MMA experience, compiling a 4-0 record from 2016-2017.
Nasukawa’s most notable victory over a boxer came in February 2017 when he KO’d former IBF flyweight champion Amnat Ruenroeng with a left hook body shot. That fight was under kickboxing rules.
The fight will be held at the Saitama Super Arena. At press time, no details have been disclosed about U.S. and international airing networks.
One of these days, Floyd’s calculated cherry picks will blow up in his face.
Still, I wouldn’t get my hopes up that we’ll see that on New Year’s Eve. Floyd will have 20+ pounds on this kid come fight night and I can’t see Floyd putting himself in serious danger by allowing any kicks.
The one concession that was hinted at by Floyd’s IG picture is the gloves. You see him wearing the smaller gloves of MMA fighters, which in theory would help Nasukawa due to his MMA experience. But unless there’s takedowns (highly unlikely), the smaller gloves also means Nasukawa will be getting hit by a much bigger man who happens to be the best boxer of the last 25 years and one of the best technical fighters to ever live.
All signs point to this being another circus like the McGregor “fight” but on a much smaller scale. New Year’s Eve is a big TV day for Japan, so we know it’ll do big numbers there. But will this gain any traction with boxing and casual sports fans in the U.S. and UK? And with Showtime’s resources tied up with the Wilder-Fury ppv coming December 1, who will carry the promotion outside of the Orient?