Mayweather Breaks Down Rizin Debut
Floyd Mayweather Jr. will fight for the first time outside of Las Vegas, Nevada in over a decade as he heads into the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan on December 31st for RIZIN’s annual New Year’s Eve event against 20-year-old kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa.
RIZIN, founded by former PRIDE management would hold a press conference on Monday, which Mayweather teased with a photo of him in RIZIN gloves.
View this post on Instagram
Mayweather, who is known to flaunt his paydays, was tight lipped about how much he’d be making for the December 31st showdown, which has yet to have a solidified weight class or rules.
“As far as the weight class and the rules, we’ll talk about that,” said Mayweather, who was flanked by One Entertainment’s Brent Johnson, who represented him in making the deal with Rizin. “We’ll get that situated within the next couple of weeks. This particular bout is a special bout as far as we’re giving the people something they’ve never seen before. The world has never seen Mayweather compete live in Tokyo. Throughout the years, I’ve seen a lot of fans from Japan come to Las Vegas and come to the U.S., but me and my team said let’s do something different. Let’s go over to Japan.
“As far as the weight class, we’re not really worried about that. It’s all about me going out there and displaying my skills against another skillful fighter. So, we both want to go out there and display our skills and give people excitement. I just want to entertain. I will speak with my team and I will let my team get with Rizin and I’m pretty sure they’ll come up with a great idea, but it’s all about entertainment and that’s what we want to do for the people.”
Rizin chairman Nobuyuki Sakakibara, former Pride Fighting Championship head confirmed details are still being worked on.
“We still have more work cut out for us, but we think it will be a great fight everyone will be excited to see,” Sakakibara said through a translator.
Nasukawa, who competes at featherweight, holds the RIZIN 126-pound title, spoke about how he knew this was an offer he could not refuse.
“When I was offered this, I accepted right away without any delay whatsoever,” he said through a translator. “I would probably say this is my biggest event in life so far, and I’m very happy this is going to materialize. I’m a little surprised myself. Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past, and I’d like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change history. I will show that to you, so please stay tuned.”
“I’m not particular about the rules, with or without kicks,” Nasukawa said about a possible mixed rules fight. “Boxing rules I wouldn’t mind. My opponent looks taller than he actually is, but I think I could hit him.”
“He’s undefeated, so it’s obvious he’s been doing something right to be where he’s at,” Mayweather said. “He’s young, fast, [has] youth, undefeated like myself, and what the people want is excitement, and that’s why I chose Japan. You guys know about boxing, you guys know about fighting. I’m not really worried about the rules. I’m pretty sure that will get sorted out in the next couple weeks. My thing is just coming over here to display my talent and put on a show for the people.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to go outside the U.S. and go into another arena and display talent as a professional because I did it as an amateur.”
This will be Mayweather’s first fight since his 2017 victory over Conor McGregor and claimed earlier this year that he was working on a return fight in Tokyo, but also called out Manny Pacquiao for a rematch, and current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Mayweather’s last fight outside of Las Vegas was a 2005 knock out of Sharmba Mitchell in the sixth round at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.