The stars aligned perfectly for the two best kickboxers in Japan to go head to head yesterday. The event was a complete sell out at the Tokyo Dome and around 500,000 people purchased the pay per view.
Tenshin Nasukawa and Takeru must both have made a lot of money. But the latter will be the happier man by far after scoring a first round knock down and winning by decision.
Afterwards Tenshin took to Instagram to pay tribute to his opponent:
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He proclaimed himself to be ‘happy to live in the same era’ as Takeru. It is an event that might never be repeated, the crowd was bigger than anything the UFC has drawn in its 29 year history.
With Tenshin walking away from kickboxing and Takeru pondering retirement it is unclear when, or if, another ‘mega fight’ on this scale will emerge. The last time that this venue hosted a kickboxing card was in 2006.
The K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 was headlined by a fight between Dutchmen Semmy Schilt and Peter Aerts. The latter won by decision in front of 54,800 fans.
There were over 56,000 people in attendance yesterday and ringside seats cost 3 million yen ($22,000 USD). According to one of the organizers the event generated 5 billion yen (37.5 million USD):
— 石井和義 (@ishiikazuyoshi) June 19, 2022
Rizin promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara knows exactly how he will be spending his share of that cash. He has booked Floyd Mayweather to face his fighter Mikuru Asakura in an exhibition boxing match in September.
The event was co-promoted by Rizin, Rise and K-1. It is reported to have broken all existing attendance records at the Tokyo Dome.
Afterwards Tenshin confirmed he would not be returning to kickboxing. But his final appearance in the sport was extremely lucrative and he is clearly grateful to the opponent who made it all possible.
It was 18 years since the Tokyo Dome last played host to a kickboxing crowd. Fans of the sport hoping for another occasion as extravagant as the one yesterday might be in for a long, long wait.