At least when Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor surprised everyone by actually getting in the ring together, they had the decency to build it with a months of seemingly meaningless hype. No one thought the fight would actually get booked, but by the time it was, everyone had seen it coming.
Mayweather vs. Nasukawa, on the other hand, has blindsided the combat sports world like the first punch in a bar fight. Months ago, Manny Pacquiao was the name on everyone’s lips in relation to a potential Floyd Mayweather return. There was talk of a “tuneup fight” in Japan that Floyd wanted to take care of first, but it seemed more like a strange afterthought than anything like this.
For those coming late to the party, Nasukawa may not be an international box office hit, but he’s a star all in his own right. With a kickboxing record of 27-0 at just 20-years-old, Tenshin has bested the likes of IBF boxing champion Amnat Ruenroeng, and Lumpinee champion Wanchalong PK Senchaigym in his fast rising career. Of his 27 wins, 20 come by way of KO.
Lately, Tenshin has become a feature star for RIZIN Fighting Federation. The heir to PRIDE’s pageantry driven style of MMA fight promotion hosted a one-night 4-man flyweight kickboxing tournament, won by the Japanese wunderkind on the strength of back-to-back knockouts. Most recently he face former UFC title contender and current RIZIN bantamweight champion Kyoji Horiguchi in the featured bout of RIZIN 13.
Now it appears the both Tenshin and Mayweather will take another spin at a sport-crossing showcase. The rules for the matchup have not yet been set, with RIZIN boss Sakakibara only saying the bout will be “special rules”. Chances are the rules will skew more toward boxing than kickboxing or MMA. But, until we know more, check out the first official trailer for the event, presented by Cygames.