November 04, 2018
  • Boxer set to join Rizin FF, an MMA company based in Japan
  • Mayweather, 41, to fight Tenshin Nasukawa on 31 December
  • Contracted weight and rules to be decided in coming weeks

Floyd Mayweather has revealed that he is aligning with the Rizin Fighting Federation, a Japanese mixed martial arts company, and will fight kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa at the organization’s year-end show on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
The shock announcement came at a Monday news conference in Tokyo, where Rizin officials introduced both Mayweather and Nasukawa, the undefeated 20-year-old kickboxing prodigy who joined the MMA promotion in 2016.
“It wasn’t easy to make this happen,” a subdued, polite Mayweather said. “But we told the people anything is possible, so now we’re here and we want to make sure that we give the people in Tokyo what they want to see: blood, sweat and tears.”
Promoters said the fight between Mayweather and Nasukawa will headline the Rizin 14 card to be staged on 31 December at the Saitama Super Arena.
Mayweather, who turns 42 in February, captured world championships in five divisions, but has not fought since a 10th-round knockout of UFC star Conor McGregor under boxing rules in August 2017. He announced his retirement after the McGregor fight with a 50-0 record as a professional, but has since teased comeback fights against old nemesis Manny Pacquiao and UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Nasukawa, a southpaw who is unbeaten in 27 kickboxing fights and four MMA bouts, has won titles across several promotions in the flyweight (125lb) and bantamweight (135lb) divisions, which raises an obvious question about the contracted weight for December’s fight: Mayweather hasn’t fought below the 147lb limit since his 2005 meeting with Arturo Gatti.
Also unclear following Monday’s announcement was if the fight will take place under the rules of boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts or some blend of the three.
“We’ll talk about that, we’ll get that situated within the next couple weeks,” Mayweather said when asked about the weight and the rules. “As far as the weight class, we’re not really worried about that. When it’s all said and done, it’s all about me going out there and displaying my skills against another skillful fighter.”
He added: “Throughout my career I fought at a heavier weight class but I always was really a smaller fighter. It’s really all about the skills, it’s really not about the weight.”
Rizin chairman Nobuyuki Sakakibara echoed Mayweather’s confidence in completing the negotiations: “As far as the rule set and the weight and the rules, we still have some work cut out for us. But it will be a great fight that everybody will be so excited to see.”
Nasukawa, for his part, appeared to relish the chance to fight with Mayweather, admitting his surprise when he was offered the opportunity and saying he “would not mind” if it were decided that kicks were outlawed.
“I think my role as a fighter is to make sure that fighting here in Japan gathers a lot of excitement,” he said. “When I was offered this card, I accepted it right away without any delay whatsoever.”
He added: “You might be surprised after hearing this announcement, and honestly speaking I’m a little surprised myself. Nobody has defeated my opponent in the past and I would like to be the man who makes history. My punch can change history and I will show that to you.”
Mayweather, who won his first world title when Nasukawa was less than two months old, was conciliatory in his assessment of the young champion, saying: “This kid right here is very, very special. He’s powerful, he’s fast, he’s strong. I’m older now. I think that when it comes to experience, I have more experience on my side. But when it comes to youth, youth is on his side.”
No financial details were disclosed during Monday’s news conference, a conspicuous omission given Mayweather’s proclivity for bragging on his paychecks when promoting a fight. One Entertainment CEO Brent Johnson, the entertainment executive who helped broker the deal for Mayweather and who sat beside the boxer on Monday, suggested that “long-term partnerships and opportunities” between Rizin and Mayweather’s nascent promotional company were the priority over a one-time cash grab, but admitted the fight would “have to make money to make sense”.
Sakakibara, who established Rizin in 2015, rose to prominence as the co-founder and president of the Pride Fighting Championships, the wildly popular and influential Japanese mixed martial arts organization that was sold to the parent company of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2007. While the companies were initially intended to co-exist as independent entities with occasional crossover events, the UFC instead absorbed many of Pride’s top fighters before abruptly folding the operation.
The bout will mark Mayweather’s first fight on foreign soil since his amateur days and the first time he’s fought outside his adopted home of Las Vegas since his 2005 match with Sharmba Mitchell at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
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Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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