The eyes of the world were on the Saitama Super Arena on Monday as Floyd Mayweather faced local favorite Tenshin Nasukawa in a bout that was billed as an exhibition. Some questioned whether or not it would resemble an actual fight, while others wondered if the boxer would actually turn up?
The answer to both questions was an emphatic “yes,” although Rizin might regret letting arguably the greatest boxer of all time share a ring with perhaps its most marketable star. Mayweather destroyed Tenshin, knocking him down three times in under three minutes in a horrible one-sided affair.
Tenshin normally competes at around 122 pounds, while Mayweather weighed 153 pounds for his last fight. Despite the gulf in both size and experience Rizin allowed the two to compete under normal boxing rules with predictable results.
Tenshin, who had clearly trained seriously for this fight, started aggressively and looked to score with fast combinations. Mayweather just laughed at him and then picked up the pace, dropping the debutant inside a minute.
The 20-year-old looked absolutely stunned, with a punch that connected just behind the ear appearing to do the damage. He was allowed to continue but Mayweather dropped him again, a right uppercut connecting clean.
This time Tenshin seemed to clear his head quicker and came out aggressively. But his punches had absolutely no effect on the bigger man and a combination from Mayweather put him down for the third and final time.
The referee was happy to allow the action to continue but fortunately for Tenshin his corner took decisive action and threw in the towel. It was supposed to be an exhibition, but for all intents and purposes this looked like a real fight, pitching the best 154-pound boxer on the planet against a 122-pound debutant.
Kyoji Horiguchi might well have been looking on aghast. He had just registered a hugely impressive win against Darrion Caldwell, submitting the reigning Bellator bantamweight champion in the third round.
Caldwell had been outwrestling Horiguchi up until that stage but was unable to capitalize with strikes or submission attempts. The American looked on course to grind out a decision until the Japanese fighter locked in a guillotine.
The tap came almost immediately and sparked wild celebrations at the Saitama Super Arena. It was an 11th straight win for Horiguchi (26-2), who wins the inaugural Rizin 135-pound title and is contractually obliged to challenge Caldwell (13-2) for his Bellator belt next.
Ayaka Hamasaki (17-2) is the inaugural Rizin super atomweight champion. She submitted Kanna Asakura (13-3) with an armbar in the third round to add yet another title to her impressive career collection.
Rizin FF 14 Full Results
- Kyoji Horiguchi def. Darrion Caldwell via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in R3
- Ayaka Hamasaki def. Kanna Asakura via Submission (Armbar) in R2
- Jiri Prochazka def. Brandon Halsey via KO (Punches) in R1
- Gabi Garcia def. Barbara Nepomuceno via Submission (Keylock) in R1
- Damien Brown def. Daron Cruickshank via Submission (Guillotine Choke) in R1
- Miyuu Yamamoto def. Mika Nagano via Decision (Unanimous)
- Kazuyuki Miyata def. Erson Yamamoto via Submission (Hammerlock) in R2
- Johnny Case def. Yusuke Yachi via TKO (Doctor Stoppage) in R2
- Yuki Motoya def. Justin Scoggins via Submission (Teepee Choke) in R1
- Ulka Sasaki def. Manel Kape via Decision (Unanimous)
- Justyna Zofia Haba def. Shinju Nozawa-Auclair via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) in R2
- Tofiq Musayev def. Nobumitsu Tyson via TKO (Punches) in R2