Today was a good day for Japanese combat sports as RIZIN Fighting Federation completed a double-header slate of events with Super RIZIN and RIZIN 38. Super RIZIN featured the return to Japan of Floyd Mayweather, who previously came and lit up Tenshin Nasukawa for the promotion’s big New Years Eve 2019 event.
This time, Mayweather knocked out Mikuru Asakura in the second round of their exhibition boxing bout. “Money” was never in any real trouble, but Asakura actually landed a few shots before getting finished moments later (watch the highlights here). For a silly freakshow fight it was entertaining enough, but there is some drama that came moments before the fight commenced.
During the flower-gifting ceremony (a thing that happens sometimes before Japanese fights), the person in charge of giving a bouquet of flowers to Floyd Mayweather instead tossed them contemptuously to the ground. A confused and somewhat bemused Mayweather didn’t react to the provocation, instead simply picking the arrangement up from the canvas and handing them to his corner.
Shame on Japan. he made a grave mistake. He will be criticized by many people. Flowers are innocent. Mayweather seemed grateful to be in Japan. I feel really sorry for making him pick up the bouquet.— じゅんたろう (@GameboyJuntaro) September 25, 2022
Following the event, RIZIN FF president Noboyuki Sakakibara sounded pretty upset about the incident.
“We deeply apologize for letting such a vile individual step into the sacred ring,” Sakakibara wrote in an Instagram post celebrating the events. “We promise that we will make sure such actions will never be taken place ever again.”
Japanese fans commenting on the post agreed the incident was beyond the pale.
“I was really embarrassed by this Japanese person,” one wrote in the comments. “My tears are painful.”
Another blamed RIZIN FF for allowing this individual into the ring, writing “Why don’t you stop using politicians who don’t know how to present flowers or YouTubers who don’t seem to know martial arts?”
The disrespectful flower-tosser has been identified as Takushi Okuno, the leader of the Burdock political party. The South China Morning Post’s Nicolas Atkin describes them as “a small political party that failed to win a single seat in Japan’s 2022 Upper House.”
Mayweather didn’t even bother to address the situation in his post-fight comments.
“I would like to thank the whole country of Japan. Unbelievable country, unbelievable people,” Mayweather said in the ring following his second round KO win. “An exciting, crazy turnout, round of applause for this tough competitor.”
He’ll go on to face YouTuber Deji in another exhibition match sometime in November. That bout will take place in Dubai.