Who is Floyd Mayweather Jr's opponent Tenshin Nasukawa?

Floyd Mayweather Jr's latest big career move will see him head to Japan on December 31 to take on featherweight kickboxing champion Tenshin Nasukawa.

Amid talk of a switch to UFC to face Khabib Nurmagomedov, Mayweather has swiftly agreed a deal to join Rizin Fighting Federation and take on its rising star.

Nasukawa, 20, is making big strides in Asia as he straddles two disciplines with great success, landing some noteworthy victories early in his career.

But the Japanese may not be a familiar name for many who have followed Mayweather's storied career to date. We bring you the lowdown on Nasukawa.

 

FIGHTING STYLE

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this fight is that the rules are yet to be decided - and Nasukawa is an ideal candidate to take on Mayweather in a whole range of disciplines.

The youngster is a kickboxer with a southpaw stance and has fought in mixed martial arts previously. He is versed in full contact karate.

While Nasukawa has had kickboxing rules fights at two of the last four Rizin events, MMA would appear the most likely middle ground for Mayweather to take him on - by no means a gentle introduction to the sport.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 31st 2018 #Tokyo

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BIGGEST FIGHTS

Mayweather's 50-0 boxing career will not be the only unbeaten record on the line when he faces Nasukawa, who is 27-0 in kickboxing and 4-0 in MMA.

And although still only young, Nasukawa's career has already been punctuated by some notable wins, defeating veteran and multiple-stadium champion Wanchalong PK.Saenchai with a first-round knock-out at the age of 18.

Nasukawa has already seen off one former champion boxer, too. Two months after downing Wanchalong, ex-IBF flyweight title-holder Amnat Ruenroeng was beaten.

This record made Nasukawa the obvious foil for Mayweather in the eyes of Rizin.

"Tenshin Nasukawa was the first guy we could think of [for this fight] and the only guy we can think of," said chief Nobuyuki Sakakibara.

HOW DOES HE APPEAL TO MAYWEATHER?

This appeared far from an obvious match-up, but Mayweather's motivations in taking this bout with Nasukawa were fairly clear as he discussed the fight on Monday, highlighting the opportunity to promote his brand in Asia.

"I have fought in the US for all 50 of my fights," he said. "As a professional I haven't had a chance to go outside the US to display my skills and to display my talent for the world."

But beyond the global reach of a fight in Japan, Mayweather appears to be winding up to an already much-anticipated clash with Nurmagomedov.

The American defeated Conor McGregor in the ring last year and now seemingly wants to face down his UFC rival, yet Dana White insists any meeting between Mayweather and Nurmagomedov would have to be an MMA contest in the octagon.

Mayweather and Nasukawa have not yet agreed the rules of the bout, but there would be some appeal to a shift towards MMA away from the UFC spotlight.

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