This Sunday kickboxing fans in Japan will finally get to witness the dream match up between Takeru Segawa and Tenshin Nasukawa. K-1, Rise and Rizin are working together to promote the event at the Tokyo Dome.
The fight has been debated and dreamed about, ever since Tenshin first called out Takeru back in 2015. There has been back and forth between both sides over the years but a cold war between the main Japanese kickboxing promotions always prevented it happening until now.
Before the rise of Superbon Banchamek they were both seen as pound for pound the two best kickboxers on the planet, but this fight will most likely be Tenshin’s last before he transitions full time to traditional boxing. It will be held under the Rise ruleset, with three, three minute rounds and the possibility of one extra round in the event of a draw.
— RISE OFFICIAL (@RISE_2003) May 23, 2022
The match is an intriguing clash stylistically. Takeru an orthodox fighter, originally from a karate background. He likes to kick off the front foot, utilizing front kicks and low kicks to set up his punching attacks. He is more of a walk forward pressure fighter than Tenshin and can get drawn in to punching it out with his opponents.
Tenshin fights out of the southpaw stance and is more of a counter puncher, looking to draw his opponents in and land with precise power shots and is also known for his spectacular, jumping, spinning kicks and knees. Takeru has struggled a little with southpaw opponents in the past, but his strength and skills have always seen him come out on top.
Tenshin has youth and athleticism on his side though. His biggest weakness is likely his stamina though as seen in his battle with Rodtang where he faded as the fight went on and the turned into more of. brawl. Rodtang was able to draw him into some long exchanges and, with Tenshin’s tendency to put a lot of power into his shots, this could be exploited by Takeru, if he is able use his pressure to draw the Rizin and Rise veteran into a brawl.
— 武尊 takeru (@takerusegawa) May 29, 2022
The card is stacked with the best Japanese kickboxers facing off against each other in many bouts that were previously seen as unlikely to take place with the two giants of Japanese kickboxing unwilling to work together. Unfortunately it won’t be easy for fans outside of Japan to catch the fights live, with it now solely screened as a PPV on Abema.
Originally part of the card was due to be shown live on Fuji but the broadcaster pulled out of televising the event just two weeks before. No official reason was given but the cancellation was precipitated by newspaper allegations surrounding Rizin promoter and former Pride promoter Nobuyuki Sakakibara’s connections to organized crime.
It means that in theory no-one outside of Japan will be able to watch the fight. In practise the most dedicated combat sports fans tend to find a way whether it be by trawling the internet for an illegal stream or using a VPN.
But the audience for this fight outside of Japan is likely to be limited. It is strictly for the domestic audience in Japan and they are sure to purchase the pay per view and fill out the Tokyo Dome making this a very lucrative event for everyone involved, even if there won’t be quite as many people watching as perhaps they would have liked.