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Martial arts

Floyd Mayweather backs out of fight against Tenshin Nasukawa claiming he was ‘misled’

  • Boxing legend says he only agreed to non-televised exhibition for ‘wealthy spectators’
  • Says he was ‘blindsided’ by development of negotiations to face 20-year-old
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 10:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 November, 2018, 11:48am

Floyd Mayweather has suddenly backtracked on a proposed New Year’s Eve fight against Japanese kickboxing sensation Tenshin Nasukawa.

The unbeaten American boxing legend claimed he was “completely blindsided” by the development of negotiations when he flew in to Tokyo for Monday’s press conference.

Mayweather and the 20-year-old had posed for pictures earlier this week when they announced a shock bout would take place in Saitama, a commuter town just outside the Japanese capital, on December 31.

“First and foremost, I want it to be clear that I, Floyd Mayweather, never agreed to an official bout with Tenshin Nasukawa,” the 41-year-old said. “In fact (with all due respect) I have never heard of him until this recent trip to Japan.”

No rule set had yet been announced though Mayweather claimed he was asked to take part in a nine minute exhibition of three rounds with an opponent selected by Japanese MMA organisation Rizin Fighting Federation.

The former five-weight world boxing champion said he was told by Brent Johnson, CEO of promoter One Entertainment, that the fight would be “an exhibition put on for a small group of wealthy spectators for a very large fee”.

“This exhibition was previously arranged as a ‘special bout’ purely for entertainment purposes with no intentions of being represented as an official fight card nor televised worldwide.”

Mayweather then claimed he and his team were “derailed by the new direction the event was going” when they arrived at the press conference in Tokyo. “We should have put a stop to it immediately,” he said.

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Mayweather has not fought since a 10th-round TKO victory against UFC star Conor McGregor – who mocked the boxer’s proposed fight with Nasukawa – in a mega-money bout that netted him US$275 million according to Forbes.

Mayweather said the arrangements being made did not have his consent or approval, and apologised to his fans for the “very misleading information” that was announced.

“For the sake of the several fans and attendees that flew in from all parts of the world to attend this past press conference, I was hesitant to create a huge disturbance by combating what was being said and for that I am truly sorry,” he added.

“I am a retired boxer that earns an unprecedented amount of money, globally, for appearances, speaking engagements and occasional small exhibitions.”

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But Mayweather’s claim that the bout with Nasukawa was meant to be a private exhibition appeared to contradict what he said at the press conference, when he talked about giving back to the Japanese public and entertaining them.

“I want to give the people what they want – blood, sweat and tears,” he said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to go outside out of the US and display my talent. The world has never seen Mayweather compete live in [Japan].

“I wanted to do something different. I always wanted to display my skills outside the US and be in a special fight.”

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He had added: “We want to continue and I want to continue to build my relationship with Money Team Tokyo, I want to continue to come over here and bring other fighters over here.

“My company have been making some huge fights happen in the US but we look forward to taking the Mayweather Promotions banner and the TMT [The Money Team] banner worldwide and if it means working with a great guy like [Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara] then there is no problem.”