In a shocking out-of-the-blue announcement, Rizin have revealed that boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr will fight kickboxer turned MMA fighter Tenshin Nasukawa at Rizin’s New Years Eve event in Japan on December 31st.
Believe it or not this is actually happening, with Mayweather joining Nasukawa at a press conference in Toyko yesterday to confirm the fight, though at this stage the rule-set for the match-up has yet to be established, though it’s hard to believe it would be under anything other than boxing rules.
Nasukawa is on of Rizin’s leading stars, holding a 4-0 MMA record, but being best known as a kickboxer who holds a perfect 27-0 record.
That includes a victory over former UFC star Kyoji Horiguchi last time out in a kickboxing bout at Rizin FF 13, which he convincingly won by unanimous decision, handing horiguchi his first loss since a submission defeat against Demetrious Johnson in the Octagon back in 2015 (albeit in MMA rather than kickboxing).
It can only be assumed that Rizin have thrown an astronomical amount of money at Mayweather to make this unlikely match-up happen, and at the presser, Rizing promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara explained why the deal made sense for the company.
“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.
Meanwhile, Mayweather also sounded enthusiastic about the match-up and suggested it might not be a one-and-done deal with Rizin.
“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.”
Mayweather had previously talked about potential blockbuster fights with UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor and a potential rematch with Manny Pacquiao, but absolutely no-one saw this announcement coming.