RIZIN announced at a press conference earlier today the return of kickboxing superstar Tenshin Nasukawa to the promotion. At the press conference, CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced Tenshin would be taking on former K-1 kickboxer Koji at RIZIN 24 in a kickboxing match. This show will also be RIZIN’s return to the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo.
This will be Tenshin Nasukawa’s first fight in RIZIN for 2020. He recently competed at RISE kickboxing’s return show in July. Nasukawa knocked out shootboxer Yuki Kasahara in the first round. He injured his hand during the fight but said he during the conference, “I have some pain but it’s okay.” Tenshin has amassed an undefeated record in professional kickboxing and has become a fan favorite due to his highlight-reel knockouts.
Koji, who also goes by the name Kouzi, is a well-known kickboxer to fans of the sport. From Osaka, he signed with RIZIN a few months ago. When he signed with RIZIN, it was highly speculated he would be booked against Tenshin at some point.
Both he and Tenshin made an in-ring appearance at RIZIN 22 together. Koji challenged Tenshin and had entered the ring with a face cutout of Floyd Mayweather over his face.
“Apart from one fight, I don’t think there’s any other card that is quite exciting when it comes to Tenshin,” Koji said at the press conference. “This is my ambition. I’ve lost a lot to come here and I only have things to gain. This fight could have happened any time, even New Year’s Eve but I’m ready.” (Credit to @fourthavenue520 on Twitter for the translation.)
During the press conference, Koji presented a walkie talkie to Tenshin that he said was connected to Tenshin’s dad and a baby bottle to Tenshin. The latter a reference to when Tenshin Nasukawa lost to Floyd Mayweather. After losing the high profile match, Nasukawa cried due to the loss.
RIZIN 24 will be available on RIZIN’s streaming service RIZIN LIVE on September 27.