Former five division Floyd Mayweather and Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa will be aiming to knock each other out next month, despite the match-up being an exhibition, the fight’s promoter said Saturday.
The bout between Mayweather and Nasukawa, first announced earlier this month, was abruptly scrapped by Mayweather over a “misunderstanding”, according to the CEO of mixed martial arts promoter Rizin.
But on Friday it was back on for New Year’s Eve.
“It will be a non-official bout. It won’t be on record. So it’s an exhibition match,” Rizin CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara told reporters at Haneda airport in Tokyo returning from talks with Mayweather in Los Angeles.
“But at worst it’s not going to be a sparring session… they will fight aiming to get a knock out.
“We don’t want people to think this is some half-hearted playing around. [Mayweather] will stand before Tenshin [on] December 31. It’s up to Tenshin whether he can create a miracle.”
The Mayweather side had been confused with the status of the bout as it was unclear if it will be an official fight, according to Sakakibara.
Asked if the bout could be cancelled again, Sakakibara said: “I don’t think there will be a cancellation unless unforeseen circumstances such as an extraordinary natural phenomenon occurs.”
Mayweather has already said the fight would go ahead in Saitama, north of Tokyo, but would be an exhibition.
“We’re going to make it happen. It’s a no-brainer,” the retired welterweight told TMZ Sports on Wednesday.
The unbeaten 41-year-old told the site the face-off would involve no kicking, saying: “It’s going to be a little boxing exhibition.”
Sakakibara confirmed the fight would be an orthodox boxing style without kicking, which will be a disadvantage for Nasukawa.
“But I want him to pull off something like a miracle,” he said adding that further details of rules such as a decision will be discussed later.
Sakakibara also said a contract of the bout remained unchanged as the highest paid for such an exhibition, but did not reveal the amount.