Floyd Mayweather had an easy morning’s work at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday. He needed less than two rounds to finish debutant Mikuru Asakura in their exhibition boxing match at Super Rizin.
The boxing icon retired from the sport with an immaculate 50-0 record after knocking out Conor McGregor in 2017. He still competes regularly in exhibition fights and in 2018 he finished Tenshin Nasukawa in the same venue.
Asakura is a mixed martial artist and popular YouTuber. But this was a boxing match, albeit an exhibition, not a popularity contest and the superiority of the multiple time world champion was evident right from the offset.
Asakura, who trained with Manny Pacquiao to prepare for this fight, opened up in the southpaw stance and stepped in to throw a solid body shot with the left early on. The 30-year-old swung with the left looking to go upstairs but Mayweather saw it coming, as he has done throughout his decorated boxing career.
Looking to be a touch more canny, the Deep veteran then went to the jab to set up his left. Mayweather responded with a shot to the body and soon began to showcase his trademark head movement as he evaded shots before scoring with a straight right to his opponent’s midsection.
Mayweather continued to push forward in the second round with Asakura using more of the jab to keep him at bay. The outspoken American then connected with the right hand and evaded the counters brilliantly before covering up to defend some short punches.
Mayweather launched two right hands to the body, but Asakura caught him with a short left hand and charged forwards before cracking him with the left again. The punch drew a wry smile from the boxing legend.
Asakura can claim to have landed a shot on arguably the best boxer of all time. But he only succeeded in provoking Mayweather who landed a solid right just on the belt line with the referee waving away appeals for a low blow.
Mayweather followed with a right hook, then an overhand right down the pipe before a cross sent Asakura tumbling to the canvas. The Tokyo-native tried to bounce straight back up but after closer inspection the official waved off the contest at 2:59.
It was no more than a light workout for Mayweather who never looked particularly troubled. Asakura might have raised his international profile but the performance won’t have enhanced his reputation as a martial artist.
Best of the rest
It wasn’t quite a perfect evening for ‘The Money Team’. Mayweather’s bodyguard ‘Jizzy Mack’ suffered a third round knockout against Kouzi as the Japanese kickboxer left the bigger man face down on the canvas.
The 40-year-old, better known as Ray Sadeghi, came in 42lbs heavier than the K-1 veteran and looked exhausted by the second round. Kouzi smelt blood as he came out for the third and used his left to set up a pair of savage shots with his right to score the knockdown.
It didn’t take long for the 33-year old to find the finish. A Stinging left hooked left Jizzy facedown in the corner of the ring with the finish coming at the 0:50 mark.