Floyd Mayweather Jr. (left) vs. Mikuru Asakura
Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. returned to the ring to stop mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura in the second round of what was scheduled to be a three-round exhibition at Saitama Super Arena, in Saitama, Japan, on Saturday night (Sunday in Japan).
Mayweather, who is now 45, was competing for the second time this year having met Don Moore in Abu Dhabi in May.
Ahead of the contest, retired superstar Manny Pacquiao entered the arena to “The Eye of the Tiger” and received a warm reception from the audience. He began by welcoming everyone and thanking the promoter for being invited. He said, “[Asakura] came to the Philippines and asked for my advice on technique; I shared with him. He can punch and box. I’m excited to watch him tonight. I’m Asian; I support Asians. That’s why I’m here to support this exhibition match.”
In the formal introductions when the traditional passing of flowers were to be presented to Mayweather, the person doing so stunningly dropped them at Mayweather’s feet instead.
Mayweather kept things at arm’s length in the opening round, using his jab to keep the distance, though did have to take a stinging body shot from Asakura in the opening minute. Every time the popular Asakura threw or landed punches, he was greeted by loud cheers from his compatriots in attendance. Mayweather also had success to the body on two occasions.
A more aggressive Mayweather landed a nice right hand that Asakura took well early in Round 2. Asakura landed a right hand that snapped Mayweather’s head back. The American smiled and continued moving backwards, picking his moments. Late in the round, Mayweather connected with a hard right hand that stiffened the Japanese fighter’s legs. Mayweather landed a big overhand right that dropped Asakura heavily at the bell. Asakura tried to make it to his feet but referee Kenny Bayless wisely called a halt to proceedings.
Mayweather spoke to the crowd afterward and thanked everyone who came, as well as eight-division world champion Pacquiao.
“I’m happy we were able to give the fans excitement,” said Mayweather. “Thanks for having me. I’ll be back.”
Mayweather is expected to return to the exhibition circle against Deji Olatunji, in Dubai, on November 13. However you have to wonder with both Mayweather and Pacquiao in attendance if they will resume hostilities for an exhibition in the near future.
Super Rizin undercard results:
Experienced Kombat Sports star Kouzi Tanaka made Floyd Mayweather’s body guard Ray Vinci Sadeghi (also known as Jizzy Mack) pay for what he felt was disrespect in the build-up. Tanaka staggered and then dropped the tired Sadeghi with a left hand in the opening seconds of the third round of their exhibition.
The end came soon after when Tanaka jumped on Sadeghi and hammered him with shots before ending matters by sending Sadeghi sprawling downward from a left hook. The fight was immediately stopped.
Tanaka later asked for a fight with Mayweather in his next bout.
Nadaka Yoshinari stopped Bandasak So Trakunpet in the opening round of their kickboxing contest. The 21-year-old Japanese fighter dropped Trakunpet with just under a minute left in the first round and although the aged Thai warrior made it back up, he was stopped moments later on his feet. Yoshinari improves to (41-5-1, 27 knockouts), Trakunpet, who had over a hundred Muay Thai tests was making his kickboxing debut.
Kota Miura, the son of Japanese soccer legend Kazuyoshi “King Kazu” Miura, forced Bunchuay Pongsungnoen to tap out with an arm bar submission at 1:07 of the first round of their MMA contest. Miura moved to (2-0, 0 KOs), while Thailand’s Pongsungnoen drops to (0-1).
The event was streamed on FITE.