Before the new year rang in, Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement briefly to score a lucrative victory in an exhibition boxing match in Japan over kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa.
The 20-year-old, who is unbeaten in professional kickboxing and mixed martial arts, was sent crashing to the canvas three times in the first round by Mayweather, leading the Japanese fighter’s corner to throw in the towel.
The fight topped the bill for the prestigious New Year’s Eve event promoted by Rizin, one of Asia’s fast-growing mixed martial arts organizations, at the Saitama Super Arena, and though it has drawn international attention, it was little more than a shrewd branding move for all concerned.
Fought at a weight limit of 147 pounds, there were no judges in attendance and the fight does not count toward the professional record of either fighter.
Nasukawa, viewed as one of the best combat sports prospects in Japan, has no regrets over taking the deal.
“I have worked hard with a big dream in the combat world. Karate, Kickboxing, MMA and Boxing. When I first got the offer I took it in a flash. I thought this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and although there were significant differences in accomplishments and weight classes, I felt that I must not run and take on the challenge,” Nasukawa stated.
“The days since the fight was confirmed have been enjoyable but with concerns, and I spent the time thinking about many things. At the end of the day, I got finished, but I have no regrets. I am disappointed at myself since I thought I could have done better. But I will face the facts and will continue to take on any challenge. I learned that I didn’t work hard enough to earn this opportunity, and I will use this defeat to improve myself and move forward this year.
“Despite all the things that happened leading up to the fight, I came to realize how truly great Mayweather was. I was the one underestimating him. I promise to make it to that level! It may take some time for me to become the man to haul the industry on my shoulders, but please continue to support me! Everybody who work to make this fight happen, thank you very much. Mr. Mayweather, thank you very much.”