Floyd Mayweather Announces New Year’s Eve fight
American professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather, has announced he will fight Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve in Saitama, Japan.
The 41-year-old undefeated boxer, who has never been beaten in all 50 of his career fights, made the announcement on Monday and also disclosed that he has signed with Japanese mixed martial arts promotions company RIZIN Fighting Federation.
Speaking at a news conference in Tokyo on Monday, Mayweather said: ‘I wanted to do something different. I wanted to display my skills outside the US and be in a special fight,’ he said.
‘I spoke with my team and with RIZIN and we put it together.
‘I have fought in the US for all 50 of my fights. As a professional, I haven’t had a chance to go outside the US to display my skills and to display my talent for the world.’
It seems for Mayweather, who won boxing world titles at five different weight divisions, this fight is about expanding his brand and business interests overseas.
“I wanted to do something different. I always wanted to display my skills outside the U.S. and be in a special fight,” added Mayweather, who has fought every one of his professional bouts in the United States.
Mayweather’s latest move comes as a major shock after he announced his second retirement from the ring following his defeat of Irish mixed martial arts (MMA) star Conor McGregor in a crossover boxing match last year.
However, the most stunning aspect of Mayweather’s announcement is his decision to sign with an MMA brand, having never competed in the octagon before.
The identity of Mayweather’s opponent, Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa — a fighter half the American’s age — muddies the waters yet further.
Nasukawa competes in both MMA and kickboxing, and has won all four of his cage fights.
While Mayweather showered praise on his opponent and even disparaged himself by saying
“my body don’t look the same as it used to look”, a bullish Nasukawa exuded confidence.
“I would like to prove with my own fist what others couldn’t do in the past,” said the 20-year-old, who added he accepted the offer to fight Mayweather without hesitation.“My opponent looks taller than I thought, I think because of the aura around him, but I think I could hit him.”
Nasukawa’s comments caused Mayweather and his business advisor Brent Johnson to break into beaming smiles but there was a sense that in the past the former world champion would not have taken this challenge so light-heartedly.
With fighting fans — both boxing and MMA alike — trying to process the latest twist in Mayweather’s career path, will primarily come down to the eventual decision over the rules of his next bout before any real judgement can be made.
If this move is a bid to stay relevant, then Mayweather, whose business acumen has been matched only by his performances in the ring, has certainly found a way to keep his name in lights.
‘As far as the weight class and the rules, we will talk about that and will get that situated within the next couple of weeks,’ said Mayweather.