Tenshin Nasukawa, the 20-year-old Japanese kickboxing superstar, is only a few days away from his three-round exhibition with former five division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Their bout, which is being fought under traditional boxing rules, is the headline bout of the upcoming RIZIN 14 card – taking place at the Saitaima Super Arena, just outside Tokyo, Japan, on New Years Eve.
Nasukawa is looking to put in a very impressive performance.
“I don’t feel any pressure about [getting a knockout],” Nasukawa said to BJPenn.com. “I hope to absorb, and learn many things from him during the 9 minutes I am provided with. I’m very excited. He’s a true legend and no Japanese fighter has had a chance to face him. I feel very fortunate to be able to face him at this age.”
Nasukawa is not worried about Mayweather’s superior experience level in boxing, along with their obvious differences in size, weight and reach.
He has an undefeated, impressive run as a kickboxer – and doesn’t see his experience as a kickboxing becoming a serious factor that hurts him.
“I don’t think it will be a disadvantage,” Nasukawa said. “I think it will be an advantage. I will be further away, MMA fighters are even more far away. I have never felt it as a disadvantage. The size difference is inevitable, but I will be quicker, and I plan to utilize that aspect.”
Mayweather had his first cross-sport collision in August 2017, when he stopped UFC superstar Conor McGregor in ten rounds.
Nasukawa believes that he’ll do better than McGregor did.
“Of course [I’ll do better than McGregor],” Nasukawa said. “I will prove that in the fight.”
And based on a very impressive performance, he hopes to further build his name to an international audence.
“I think it means everything that people will get to know who I am and get to know that the Japanese still have tough fighters,” Nasukawa said. “Of course watching Mayweather is always something, but watching how lighter guys fight is something I really want people to look for, and I want them to see my way of life.”