Floyd Mayweather will make a remarkable return to action in Japan on New Year’s Eve when he takes on kickboxer and mixed martial artist Tenshin Nasukawa.
Mayweather is widely regarded as the greatest boxer of his generation but seemingly retired after taking his perfect professional record to 50-0 by defeating UFC star Conor McGregor in August last year.
Talk of a comeback has been steadily building in recent months but Mayweather’s decision to partner up with the Rizin Fighting Federation - an MMA promotion company - still comes as a shock.
It is unknown whether the showdown in the city of Saitama will be under boxing, kickboxing or MMA rules, which Mayweather hopes will be resolved in “the next couple of weeks”.
Speaking at a press conference to promote Rizin 14, the 41-year-old said: “I wanted to do something different. It doesn’t matter where the fight is but it’s in a special place.
“I always wanted to display my skills outside the US and be in a special fight. This presented itself, I spoke with my team, I got with Rizin and we put it together.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to go outside the US and go to another arena and display my talent as a professional. I did it as an amateur but it was different as a professional.
“I fought in the US for all 50 fights but as an amateur I was able to travel and fight in Russia, Cuba and so many different countries.
“I chose Japan because it’s such a great place and they’ve got great people and the fighting atmosphere is unbelievable.
“I want to give the people what they want to see - blood, sweat and tears.”
Nasukawa is 21 years Mayweather’s junior but has won all 27 of his kickboxing contests as well as his first four bouts in MMA.
Assessing his foe, Mayweather added on Rizin’s YouTube channel: “He’s young, very strong, very fast and he’s undefeated so it’s obvious he’s been doing something right to be where he’s at so I’m proud of him.
“He’s going to bring a lot of excitement, I’m going to bring a lot of excitement and that’s what the people want to see.”