May­weather can­cels Ja­pan kick­box­ing bout

The Phnom Penh Post - - SPORT -

BOX­ING su­per­star Floyd Maywe a t h e r o n Wedne s d a y scrapped a planned fight with a Ja­panese kick­boxer, claim­ing he had been duped into agree­ing to the con­test.

In a lengthy state­ment posted on so­cial me­dia, May­weather said he had been “blind­sided” by or­gan­is­ers of the pro­posed bout against Ten­shin Na­sukawa, set for New Year’s Eve in Saitama.

“I want it to be clear that I, Floyd May­weather, never agreed to an of­fi­cial bout with Ten­shin Na­sukawa,” May­weather wrote on In­sta­gram.

The 41-year-old re­tired wel­ter­weight cham­pion said he had trav­elled to Ja­pan last week to dis­cuss par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pri­vate bout against Na­sukawa for a “small group of wealthy spec­ta­tors for a very large fee”.

“This ex­hi­bi­tion was pre­vi­ously ar­ranged as a ‘Spe­cial Bout’ purely for en­ter­tain­ment pur­poses with no in­ten­tions of be­ing rep­re­sented as an of­fi­cial fight nor tele­vised world­wide,” May­weather wrote.

Soon af­ter ar­riv­ing at a press con­fer­ence in Tokyo on Mon­day, May­weather said he and his team “were com­pletely de­railed by the new di­rec­tion this event was go­ing”.

“We should have put a stop to it im­me­di­ately,” May­weather wrote. “I want to sin­cerely apol­o­gise to my fans for the very mis­lead­ing in­for­ma­tion that was an­nounced dur­ing this press con­fer­ence.

“I can as­sure you that I too was com­pletely blind­sided by the ar­range­ments that were be­ing made with­out my con­sent or ap­proval.”

In Tokyo on Mon­day, May­weather had vowed to give “blood, sweat and tears” in the fight against Na­sukawa.

“It’s al­ways been a goal of mine to go out­side out of the US and dis­play my tal­ent. The world has never seen May­weather com­pete live in [ Ja­pan],” May­weather told re­porters at the press con­fer­ence, fram­ing the fight as an ex­pan­sion of his busi­nesses to the Far East.

May­weather has not fought since his money-spin­ning box­ing show­down with mixed mar­tial arts star Conor Mc­Gre­gor in Las Ve­gas in 2017.

How­ever the Amer­i­can has re­peat­edly hinted at com­ing out of re­tire­ment since that fight, most re­cently teas­ing a pos­si­ble re­match against Filipino icon Manny Pac­quiao.

May­weather said he had been re­luc­tant to speak out at Mon­day’s press con­fer­ence be­cause he did not want “to cre­ate a huge dis­tur­bance by com­bat­ing what was be­ing said”.

“I am a re­tired boxer that ear ns an un­prece­dented amount of money, glob­ally, for ap­pear­ances, speak­ing en­gage­ments and oc­ca­sional small ex­hi­bi­tions,” he said.

US-based pun­dits how­ever poured scorn on May­weather’s stated rea­sons for the U-turn.

Ya­hoo Sports com­bat sports colum­nist Kevin Iole greeted May­weather’s volte face with scep­ti­cism.

“May­weather is hardly a shrink­ing vi­o­let and he has never – ever – failed to speak up on his own be­half since he be­came a pro­fes­sional boxer,” Iole wrote. “One would have to be a fool to be­lieve this.”

RIZIN FIGHT­ING FED­ER­A­TION/AFP

Ten­shin Na­sukawa poses at a press con­fer­ence on Mon­day to an­nounce the Floyd May­weather fight.

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