As it turns out, Floyd Mayweather Jr. will not be fighting Japanese kickboxing Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve, or at least the bout is extremely unlikely after the undefeated boxer posted on Instagram that he was “blindsided” by the Rizin FF press conference and the size of the event that was ultimately announced.
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Now that I am back on U.S. soil after a long and disappointing trip to Tokyo, I now have the time to address you, my fans and the media in regard to the upcoming event on December 31st that was recently announced. First and foremost, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa. In fact (with all due respect) I have never heard of him until this recent trip to Japan. Ultimately, I was asked to participate in a 9 minute exhibition of 3 rounds with an opponent selected by the "Rizen Fighting Federation". 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. Once I arrived to the press conference, my team and I were completely derailed by the new direction this event was going and we should have put a stop to it immediately. I want to sincerely apologize to my fans for the very misleading information that was announced during this press conference and 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. I am a retired boxer that earns an unprecedented amount of money, globally, for appearances, speaking engagements and occasional small exhibitions.
RIZIN FF announced in a live streaming press conference that Mayweather and the undefeated kickboxer had agreed to fight at the Saitama Super Arena on New Year’s Eve, though details like the rules of the bout were not announced. The two sides were said to have agreed to some kind of bout, but Mayweather claims he had agreed to “participate in a nine-minute exhibition of three rounds with an opponent selected by the Rizen Fighting Federation.”
Mayweather went on to say that he was supposed to be putting on “an exhibition for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee,” and that the bout was to be “purely for entertainment purposes.” Further, he said that he did not know who Nasukawa was before he arrived in Japan.
The boxer also went on to apologize to his fans for “the very misleading information that was announced during this press conference and I can assure you that I too was completely blindsided by the arrangements that were being made without my consent nor approval.”
This certainly makes more sense than the original suggested bout — there was little reason for Mayweather to agree to fight somebody so dangerous, especially if kicks were allowed in whatever ruleset would have been established. Mayweather is certainly one of the best boxers in the history of the sport, but the 20-year-old Nasukawa is dangerous everywhere and had everything to gain while there was little incentive beyond a payday for Mayweather.
And it always seemed unlikely that Mayweather, who has all the power in negotiations with the promotion, would agree to participate in anything other than a boxing match. His terms were always going to be what dictated this kind of bout, and it would not be a smart decision to face Nasukawa in anything other than full-size boxing gloves with kicks disallowed.
Nasukawa is 27-0 as a kickboxer at just 20 years old, with 21 of his victories by knockout. His highlight wins include a knockout of Amnat Ruenroeng and, most recently, a decision win over Kyoji Horiguchi.
Mayweather is 50-0 as a professional boxer, with his most recent win being over Conor McGregor. He has 27 knockouts, including the one over McGregor.