Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa may be at a bit of a disadvantage when he faces boxing icon Floyd Mayweather in a three-round exhibition bout on New Year’s Eve.
The exhibition, held at RIZIN 14 in Saitama, Japan, will be held under special orthodox boxing rules with no kicking allowed. The contracts for the exhibition make it the highest paid for such a matter, but there’s no official word on what both men will earn for the fight.
“The fight is very close and I’m training hard every day to face Mayweather and leave a mark,” Nasukawa said. “This is a great opportunity and we’re happy to take it. I’m going to put everything out there and show my strengths. I think that I’m the faster fighter. I’m going to use my weapons against him.”
The bout was briefly canceled, as there was reportedly “miscommunication” between Mayweather’s camp and RIZIN as to if the fight would be official or an exhibition. RIZIN’s CEO compared the bout to something out of a Rocky movie or the Muhammad Ali-Antonio Inoki bout from 1976.
“There’s never been a Japanese fighter to face Floyd Mayweather in the ring. As an athlete, this is something that’s a great honor and a challenging task. I’d like to make a big impression,” Nasukawa said. “I want to get the whole fight community, the whole country of Japan and the entire world involved in this fight. I’m going to go in there believing in myself and ready to prove myself.”