Just another day for Floyd

Floyd Mayweather takes on Tenshin Nasukawa (right) today in a three-round exhibition, which the American said he could do "in his sleep". The bout will not count on the official record of either athlete.
Floyd Mayweather takes on Tenshin Nasukawa (right) today in a three-round exhibition, which the American said he could do "in his sleep". The bout will not count on the official record of either athlete.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Mayweather 'not worried about anything' in exhibition fight with Japanese kickboxer

TOKYO • Entertainment is the name of the game for undefeated boxing legend Floyd "Money" Mayweather in today's fight with Japanese kickboxing prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa.

Speaking ahead of his New Year's Eve bout, the American insisted he would be putting on a show for the fans in Saitama, just north of Tokyo.

The 41-year-old has yet again been tempted out of retirement - this time for a one-off "exhibition", against "Ninja Boy" Nasukawa, a fighter less than half his age at 20.

Mayweather came out of a two-year retirement last August, knocking out Irish mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Conor McGregor in the 10th round of a super-hyped boxing match.

"It is all about entertainment. I don't worry about anything," Mayweather told reporters in a press conference devoid of the hyped-up rhetoric that usually accompanies pre-fight events.

The fight will be held under boxing rules over three three-minute rounds, which Mayweather said he could do "in his sleep".

There will also not be an official winner or loser if it goes the distance, meaning both men will keep their unbeaten records in the absence of a knockout.

STRESS-FREE AFFAIR

Throughout my years of boxing, I never touched the canvas once. Me getting knocked out or me getting knocked down... I don't worry about it at all. Come Dec 31, I want to go out and have fun.

FLOYD MAYWEATHER, unbeaten American boxer, on the possibility of being floored by his Japanese kickboxing opponent Tenshin Nasukawa in their exhibition bout today.

The bout will not count on the official record of either athlete, nor will there be any official judges and Mayweather appeared relaxed at the non-competitive nature of the event, which he called "just another day".

Dismissing the possibility of getting floored by his opponent, he said: "Throughout my years of boxing, I never touched the canvas once.

"Me getting knocked out or me getting knocked down... I don't worry about it at all. Come Dec 31, I want to go out and have fun."

For his part, Nasukawa felt the imposed rules were not "unfair" despite being deprived of his kicking skills, and vowed to show "courage, determination and challenging spirit".

He said: "All I have to do is to give 100 per cent... Since Mayweather is expected to dodge my offence, I really want to hit him."

The fight was first announced early last month but Mayweather then abruptly called it off following what was later described as a "misunderstanding" over the rules, according to MMA promoter Rizin.

Rizin boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara flew to Los Angeles for talks with the boxer and won him over, finally reaching an agreement on the terms of the contest.

Brushing off suggestions the bout was nothing more than a sparring match, Sakakibara claimed both fighters were "aiming (for a) knockout".

Nasukawa is considered something of a rising star in Japanese fighting circles and began learning karate at the age of five.

He has a 28-0 record as a professional kickboxer with 21 wins by knockout, with four wins from four MMA matches, while Mayweather has a 50-0 record as a professional boxer dating back to his first fight in 1996.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2018, with the headline 'Just another day for Floyd'. Print Edition | Subscribe