Floyd Mayweather beats Mikuru Asakura in boxing exhibition match in Japan – ESPN

Floyd Mayweather beats Mikuru Asakura in boxing exhibition match in Japan - ESPN

Floyd Mayweather is still winning boxing matches, even if they will not go on his official professional record.

The legendary boxer stopped Japanese MMA fighter and YouTuber Mikuru Asakura at the end of the second round with a big right hand on Sunday’s Rizin Fighting Federation card in Saitama, Japan. It was Mayweather’s second exhibition match this year and his second in Japan since his retirement from professional fighting.

Mayweather will reportedly earn in the range of $20 million for the bout, which was scheduled for three rounds. Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather’s old rival, was ringside.

“I would like to thank the whole country of Japan,” Mayweather said later. “Incredible country, incredible people. Exciting, incredible turnout. Applause for this great competitor right here.”

After an uneventful first round in which Asakura landed some body shots, he had some success in the second round, connecting several times to Mayweather’s head with lefts and rights from a mercenary stance.

But Mayweather, one of the best boxers ever and the highest-achieving combat sports athlete of all time, came back with hard shots of his own. He landed hard to the body right before the finish then set Asakura up for the big right at the second round bell that finally ended the bout.

Asakura slowly got up, and referee Kenny Bayless waved the fight off before both boxers came to their corner after the second.

“Thank you for having me,” Mayweather told the crowd. “I’ll be back.”

Mayweather, 45, acknowledged Pacquiao in attendance in his post-fight speech, oddly calling him a “future” world champion. Pacquiao, 43, addressed the fans before the exhibition and again afterwards.

Before the fight, Pacquiao said Asakura, 30, traveled to the Philippines to ask him for advice on how to compete against Mayweather. Pacquiao added that he was there to support Asian combat sports. Afterwards, Pacquiao said twice that he hoped he would be invited back, leading commentators to speculate that there could be something brewing with Rizin, Mayweather and Pacquiao.

“I hope this is not my last invitation to watch a good fight, a good exhibition,” Pacquiao said.

In a strange scenario before the bout, a man who was supposed to bring Mayweather flowers — a combat sports tradition in Japan — threw the bouquet down onto the canvas rather than handing it to Mayweather.

Mayweather came to the ring wearing a jersey with the number 50 on it, signifying his 50-0 professional record.

In December 2019, Mayweather finished Japanese kickboxing prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa in the first round after three knockouts. Nasukawa competes at around 120 pounds. Asakura was much closer to Mayweather’s weight, maybe a little bigger, on Saturday, although there was no official draw weight.

In an undercard attack to the Mayweather vs. Asakura headliner, Mayweather’s bodyguard Ray “Jizzy Mack” Sadeghi was knocked out in a boxing match by 135-pound kickboxer Kouzi. There was no weigh-in, but Sadeghi was significantly bigger than Kouzi in the ring.

Mayweather had an exhibition bout against Don Moore in May in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Mayweather has said he will participate in another such matchup in the Middle East before the end of the year, although no opponent has been named.

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