Perhaps the biggest kickboxing fight of the last decade, Tenshin Nasukawa and Takeru fought in an all-Japan, all-or-nothing fight that electrified the crowd, frustrated the foreigners, and finally answered the question of which Japanese superstar is the better kickboxer. In the end, Tenshin Nasukawa scored a knockdown and took the decision on the judges scorecards after three rounds of exciting action.
Tenshin Nasukawa defeats Takeru in back and forth fight
Early in the fight Tenshin Nasukawa took control of the center of the ring in a sold out Tokyo Dome. Controlling the center of the ring for such a tough fighter that is indomitable as Takeru is paramount and Tenshin set out to do just that. Early on, Tenshin landed the jab and occasional cross to keep Takeru away. Mid way through the round, Tenshin throws a flying knee and a cross that wakes Takeru up and there’s a certain ferocity coming from Takeru in his eyes and smile. Tenshin does a good job of staying off the center line the entire fight, especially in the first round. Takeru looked to slow Tenshin down by going to the legs early. But it would only be a three round fight and the damage wouldn’t pile up enough.
The knockdown comes near the end of the round. Both fighters came in with a jab and threw opposite hooks. Tenshin’s landed clean and down goes Takeru. Tenshin Nasukawa goes to his corner and stands there like a statue. But Takeru would beat the count and the round was on short time and he would survive without any more damage.
Round two begins and Tenshin starts his work to the body with a hook. He starts pulling out other tricks from up his sleeve like uppercuts to the stomach and an axe kick up top. But Takeru knows that with the 10-8 he needs a knockdown to get the point back. Unfortunately in the middle of the round Takeru headbutts Tenshin and there’s a short break in the action. Tenshin is having to deal with the pressure of Takeru now and Takeru is landing heavy shots. Tenshin had to do a good job of tying up Takeru before things got too wild.
At the beginning of round three, Tenshin comes out hot but quickly gets tired. He and Takeru are both throwing bombs and they’re labored. Tenshin Nasukawa does a good job dipping under the hooks and tying up. This time he starts stepping behind Takeru to tie him up to avoid any punches in the clinch. Takeru lands a step up knee and a left hook. Tenshin comes with a huge uppercut and a couple hooks. Takeru smiles and eats them. The two have their hands down and start trading shots. 30 seconds left, Takeru knows he needs a finish. The bell rings with the two hooking and throwing shots to put on a pleaser for the crowd.
As the scorecards are read, Tenshin is emotional. He is declared the victor in the long-lasting rivalry.
Tenshin to boxing? Takeru to retire?
As for what’s next, a lot remains to be seen. Tenshin Nasukawa has been preparing for a transition to boxing for some time. He’s said multiple times that this would be his last fight in kickboxing. Having fought in kickboxing and MMA, Tenshin has been dabbling in boxing exhibitions, most famously his first being to Floyd Mayweather, who is returning to RIZIN to fight Mikuru Asakura in a similar style fight. In my own opinion, I think this will not be the last time Tenshin Nasukawa kickboxes. He’s only 23 and can have a good boxing career if done right. But I fear he won’t take it the right way and take on a tough challenge too early and take a loss.
As for Takeru, he said that when he loses his next match, he will retire. After that kind of performance, I would like to see Takeru return. He’s still a draw for K-1 and with Tenshin leaving for boxing, he could be king of the heap still. Takeru will almost certainly return to kickboxing and put on his electrifying fights for a few more years at a high level.
Your friendly neighborhood fight fan. I watch way too many fights and my wife lets me know it. Also, Cowboy Cerrone is the GOAT.