Tenshin Nasukawa finally has a date set for his pro boxing debut. The Japanese star faces Yuuki Yonaha at the Ariaka Arena on April 8th.
The devastating defeat at the hands of Floyd Mayweather came in a fight that was technically an exhibition. So that loss does not appear on Tenshin’s official record.
Tenshin defeated Takeru in the final fight of his kickboxing career last year. Since that day he has been preparing for his pro debut and spent time training in the US:
期待しててください オレはやるぜ🔥 pic.twitter.com/XhNHNnSnjk
— 那須川 天心 (@TeppenTenshin) February 9, 2023
Yonaha (12-4-1) looks to be a formidable opponent for a boxer with no previous professional experience. He has beaten some solid opponents and eight out of his 12 wins have come inside the distance.
Tenshin might be making his debut but last year’s kickboxing bout with Takeru generated huge profits and promoters will be well aware of how big a star the 24 year old could turn out to be. So Yonaha wouldn’t have been chosen as an opponent if there wasn’t confidence that the Rizin and Rise veteran would beat him.
While Tenshin won’t be challenging for any titles just yet there are two world title fights on the card. Takuma Inoue (17-1) challenges Liborio Solis (35-6-1) for the vacant WBO bantamweight belt.
The Japanese star will be looking to emulate his brother Naoye Inoue by becoming a world champion for the first time in his career. It is not entirely clear which fight will be the headliner at the 15,000 capacity arena in Tokyo.
.@TakumaInoue_122 gets it done ✅#InoueButler x @ESPNPlus pic.twitter.com/dt4uncBTuz
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) December 13, 2022
The other world title fight on the card will have no fewer than three belts on the line. Reigning WBO and WBC champion Kenshiro Teraji (20-1) faces WBO champion Jonathan Gonzalez (27-3-1).
In boxing prospects will frequently start out by facing very low level opponents. They won’t be matched with anyone dangerous during the early stages of their career as promoters look to protect their investment.
In this context matchmakers appear to have taken a risk in matching Tenshin with such an experienced fighter. The Japanese star might have established himself as the best pound for pound kickboxer on the planet before retiring but he remains a novice in the sport of boxing.