Because nothing in combat sport should surprise anyone any more, undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather will reportedly fight in a bout at Rizin 14 at Saitama Super Arena in Japan on December, 31.
This shock move was announced at a press conference in Tokyo this week.
Rizin Fight Federation (RFF), is one of the biggest MMA organisations in Asia, and was founded by the former president of Pride FC, Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
Mayweather will fight Japanese kick-boxing superstar TenshinNasukawa, who has an unblemished 27 fight professional record.
It is unclear at this stage whether the reported fight will be contested under boxing, kick-boxing or MMA rules, although Mayweather posted a photo to social media of himself wearing a pair of MMA gloves.
According to Sakakibara, the weight hasn’t been decided upon yet, and the bout will be contested “under special rules.”
One of the most exciting kick-boxers on the planet, 20-year-old Nasukawa has a series of highlight reel knockout wins.
At the surprise press conference in Japan, Mayweather spoke about The Money Team’s partnership with Rizin.
“I love that I was able to get with two heavy hitters from my team and we were able to come together to make this event happen,” he said.
“I couldn’t choose a better company than Rizin.
“Rizinhgas done a remarkable job with the fighters. I look forward to giving you guys entertainment come December 31.
“My relationship with Rizin doesn’t just end here. I look forward to taking this world wide.”
“My role as a fighter is to make sure fighting here in Japan gathers a lot of excitement and when I was offered this fight I accepted right away without any delay whatsoever,” Nasukawa said through a translator.
“I would probably say that this is my biggest event in life so far and I’m very happy it’s going to materialise.
“You might be surprised, and honestly, I’m a little surprised myself.
“Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past and I’d like to be the man to create history. My punch can change history.”
Mayweather’s last bout was another clash of combat sports, when he stopped UFC superstar Conor McGregor in nine rounds in a boxing match in Las Vegas last year.
He had most recently been linked to a fight with UFC lightweight champion KhabibNurmagomedov after the Russian defended his 155-pound title against Conor McGregor in October.
Nasukawa most recently earned a three-round unanimous decision victory over fellow Japanese star KyojiHoriguchi at Rizin FF 13 in September.
WHAT IS RIZIN?
Rizin is a Japanese based mixed marital arts promotion. It held its first events in December 2015 when it staged a Rizin World Grand-Prix, won by Muhammad Lawal.
Rizin has held 15 fight cards since then, with all of them being staged in Japan.
The promotion has been the home to some serious talent, with MirkoCro Cop, FedorEmelianenko, Wanderlei Silva and Jerome Le Banner all appearing in fights staged by the company.
UFC veterans who have fought under the Rizin banner include Diego Brandao, Shane Carwin, TakanoriGomi and Ian McCall.
WHAT WEIGHT WILL FLOYD MAYWEATHER FIGHT TENSHIN NASUWAKA?
We don’t know that yet, but its bound to be a contentious decision.
Mayweather’s win over McGregor was fought at boxing’s super-welterweight limit of 154lbs (69.85kg). His previous two fights – against Andre Berto and Manny Pacquiao – were both fought at the welterweight limit of 147lbs (66.68kg).
Nasukawa’s last fight, in September, was fought at 126lbs (57kg) in Rizin’s flyweight kickboxing division.
Fighting at that weight in boxing would make Nasukawa a featherweight, which is still one weight class lighter than where Mayweather won his first world titles in 1998.
After fighting the first 27 of his professional bouts at the super featherweight limit of 130lbs (58.97kg), Mayweather moved up to lightweight (135lbs/61.23kg) in 2002.
Mayweather hasn’t fought below 140lbs since 2005.