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Floyd Money Mayweather Jr. 


 Nasukawa Tenshin 

By Roberto Pedreira

From スポーツ報知, 平成30,11, 6, 火曜日

 (Sports Hôchi, Tuesday, November 6, 2018)

Updated December 9, 2018 (JST)

 Above: Floyd Mayweather Jr (left);  Nasukawa Tenshin (right).

Japan was all abuzz Tuesday morning November 6, 2018 with the news that retired, undefeated, five-weight class multi-millionaire world boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. will return to the ring in Japan on December 31, 2018. His opponent will be a 20 year Japanese kick-boxer named Nasukawa Tenshin (那須川天心). Tenshin will give up 10 kg and 11 cm to Floyd. In compensation, he has (some) ground skills and MMA experience. (Tenshin weighs in at 58 kg and stands 162 cm. Floyd is 68 kg and 173 cm). 

Floyd may be retired from boxing (that remains to be seen), but with USA taxes being what they are (for the people who can't avoid paying them), a couple more million is not something to sneeze at. But will he remain undefeated?

That depends on the rules of the fight that he plans to participate in. His opponent is a veteran of several previous RIZIN events, defeating Nikita Sapun and Dylan Oligo in Rizin 3. He has excellent Muay Thai and kick-boxing skills and is not a stranger to the ground.  

The rules are still under discussion. There are four weight classes separating Floyd and Tenshin. The rules have to take that into allowance. Among the issues to be addressed, are the size (weight) of the gloves, what techniques other than boxing will be permitted, and how many kicks will be permitted (or required).

Tenshin can kick. When he was a middle school student he made a "training pilgrimage" to Thailand all by himself (単身武者修行). He made his "pro debut" when he was 14 years old. He made his MMA debut on December 29, 2016. His ring record is 24 and 0, with 19 KOs.

Floyd, as everyone knows, is 50 and 0, with 27 KOs, his last outing being a trouncing of UFC star Conor McGregor, who displayed good boxing skills, albeit not good enough to avoid being stopped by the undefeated boxing champion.

Floyd also knows something about the ground game, he says. In any event, his wrestling skills stood him in good stead in his battle with Big Show. Even if he did cheat a little (who can blame him?). The problem is that it's hard to box and wrestle at the same time. In that case, the result might come down to whether Floyd can stay on his feet, which is generally an excellent strategy for a striker to focus on. Floyd's style of boxing would blend well with the evasive footwork needed to avoid being tackled. It would also tend to help him avoid leg kicks. Floyd is an in-and-out type of stylist, unlike say, Canelo or GGG who tend to want to bang (although GGG didn't do much of that in the Canelo rematch).

It would be another in the line of legendary mixed styles fights promoted by Japan, in the tradition of Muhammad Ali versus Antonio Inoki (boxing versus pro wrestling) and Takada Nobuhiko (高田延彦) (Brazilian jiu-jitsu versus pro wrestling). Ali versus Inoki was a flop, according to Japanese fans who watched it, but it accomplished its purpose which was to make Inoki famous. Takada versus Rickson 1 was slightly better, but not a lot, given Takada's background. Takada versus Rickson 2 actually had some moments of drama, since Takada had prepared well for the anti-takedown phase. Floyd versus Tenshin could be a snorefest or it could be fireworks. Uncertainty is what makes fans want to watch fights, as Tex Rickard knew so well. (Drama helps too but there isn't much room for drama in this match-up; that's what the prelim and lady fighters are for). Look for large quantities of ambiguity in the pre-fight hype.

For Japanese fans who aren't familiar with RIZIN, the article explained that it is entertainment (興行) based on the highest level of Japanese stand-up fighting (国内最高峰立ち技) and also mixed fighting (総合格闘技). The name RIZIN has two meanings. First, it's short for "Rising Sun". Second, it means God of Thunder (雷神). It was founded by Sakakibara Nobuyuki (榊原信行) formerly of PRIDE (1997-2007), in 2015. This year's New Year Eve show (大みそか)will be number 14 in the series.

In addition to Floyd Mayweather versus Tenshin, Feoder Emilenko will face former sumo wrestler Ōsuna-Arashi, whose name contains a clue as to his background. ōsuna-Arashi (大砂嵐) means "Big Sand Storm" (he's from Egypt). Incidentally, he was kicked out of sumo for his involvement in a traffic accident in which he lied about who was driving the car, blaming his Japanese wife. Such un-Japanese behavior is unacceptable in sumo but no problem in pro wrestling and MMA. It might even be a good thing (as they say, there's no such thing as bad publicity in show business). Among the lady fighters, Rena will confront an as-yet-to-be named opponent,  and various other outstanding match-ups will be offered.  No Gracies have been mentioned so far. According to word on the street in Japan: If we have Floyd, we don't need Gracie. If there is any BJJ on display in RIZIN 14, it will be in the prelims.

The event will take place at the Saitama Super Arena and will be broadcast live by FUJI TV.


Update December 9, 2018 (JST). As predicted above, the Floyd Meaweather Jr. vs. Nasukawa Tesnshin fight was replete with ambiguity and confusion. First Floyd claimed that he had been deceived, so he wouldn't fight Nasukawa after all. On December 8 (2018, JST) it was announced that Floyd would meet Nasukawa (a 58 kg MMA kick-boxer) in a three-round boxing exhibition, no kicking, no grappling, no ground. The promoter had originally wanted it to be a legitimate dog-fight, a Hong Kong style street brawl. Instead Floyd will dance and sting--oh wait, that was another boxer. Speaking of whom, Floyd proudly eclipsed his record, as well as Rocky Marciano's (49 and 0, with 43 KOs). Floyd became 50-0. He did it against an opponent whose pro boxing record was 0-0-0. Rocky Marciano's 49 victim, in contrast, had a pro record of 149-19-8 (Archie Moore). 


Also of interest:

Tenshin versus Nikita Sapun and Dylan Oligo in RIZIN 3

Floyd vs. Conor McGregor 1 (pre-fight predictions)

Floyd vs. Conor McGregor 2 (post-fight breakdown)

(c) 2018, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.

Updated December 9, 2018 (JST)




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