Another marquee name in boxing is set to showcase his talent on Japan’s prestigious mixed martial arts promotion.
On New Year’s Eve, undefeated boxing legend Floyd Mayweather Jr. made his debut at the RIZIN Fighting Federation.
He took on kickboxing superstar, Tenshin Nasukawa, in an exhibition fight under boxing rules.
“Money” made short work of Japan’s local hero and reportedly earned a lucrative paycheck from the bout.
Now, the Japanese MMA promotion made another recruitment coup as it signed former eight-division champion, Manny Pacquiao, for its April event.
RIZIN President Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced the news on his Twitter account along with photos of the Filipino boxer signing the contract, highlighting that another ‘gimmick’ will be staged featuring “Pacman.”
”Now, I’m actually in the Philippines. Following Mayweather, RIZIN.15 will make a new gimmick with this guy. I will announce it as soon as I return home, so please look forward to it!” he wrote.
— NOBUYUKI SAKAKIBARA (@nobu_sakakibara) April 7, 2019
Following Floyd’s Footsteps
Pacquiao is coming off an emphatic win against Adrian Broner to record his first winning streak since losing to Jeff Horn two years ago.
The former eight-division world champion showed the boxing world that he still has plenty of gas left in his tank after overwhelming Broner in an all-out war last January
At 40 years old, the Filipino champ stamped his class and dominated his American challenger in twelve rounds en route to a unanimous decision victory and to retain his WBA welterweight belt he captured in July.
The ringside judges scored 116-112, 117-111, and 116-112 all in favour of the Filipino athlete, who starred in his first boxing fight in the United States in almost two years.
After the win, Pacquiao’s boxing record improved to 61-7-2 while Broner ended with a 33-4-1 win-loss slate.
Recent reports claimed that he might be facing Keith Thurman for a welterweight title showdown on July 13.
But Pacquiao will head first to Japan to participate at RIZIN 15, to become the next boxing world champion to fight in the Japanese MMA outfit.
His opponent is not yet determined while the event is set on April 21 at the Yokohama Arena.
On December 31, Mayweather took on Japanese kickboxing sensation Nasukawa in a bizarre match-up at RIZIN’s New Year’s Eve offering.
He coasted to a first-round stoppage win after knocking down Nasukawa thrice in the opening round, which led to his cornerman throwing in the towel.
Fans quickly criticised the outcome of the match, saying it was “fake” and “rigged” and worked on Mayweather’s favour.
But whether it was staged or not, the boxing legend was still a big winner as he took home a fight payday amounting to $9 million.
We're in the money: Mayweather floors Nasukawa in just two minutes — and takes home $9 MILLION!https://t.co/olWzLyKyO8 #MayweatherNasukawa #MayweathervsNasukawa @rdctokyoAFP pic.twitter.com/gt08MHd9Xo
— AFP Sport (@AFP_Sport) December 31, 2018
Check out RIZIN 15 Fight Card as it currently stands (via MMA Junkie):
Muhammed Lawal vs Jiri Prochazka — for the light heavyweight title
Kyoji Horiguchi vs Ben Nguyen
Kai Asakura vs Justin Scoggins
Mikuru Asakura vs Luiz Gustavo
Damien Brown vs Koji Takeda
Satoru Kitaoka vs Roberto Souza
Manel Kape vs Seiichiro Ito
Karl Albrektsson vs Christiano Frohlich
Kana Watanabe vs Justyna Haba
Shinju Auclair vs Saray Orozco
(Featured Image Source: Twitter/Nobuyuki Sakakibara)