As previously reported by PlanetMMA, eight-division boxing world champion Manny Pacquiao has signed to work for RIZIN in Japan. What role Pacquiao would take in the organisation was unknown. In a press conference held today, RIZIN CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara revealed what the former boxer and current politician’s role will be. In addition, Sakakibara also announced the next fights for Japanese superstars Tenshin Nasukawa and TAIGA.
Rumours of a fight between Pacquiao and Tenshin were flying around the web since the news of Pac-Man’s signing. Many wondered if Tenshin would fight another boxing legend after his exhibition with Floyd Mayweather on New Year’s Eve. Those rumours were put to rest this morning when Sakakibara announced that Pacquiao would be taking on an ambassadorial role with RIZIN.
Pacquiao will enable and represent a stream of Filipino talent coming to RIZIN. The first of these fighters from the Philippines will step-up to face undefeated Japanese sensation Tenshin Nasukawa in a RIZIN kickboxing rules bout at RIZIN 15 on April 21. Fritz Biagtan is a national Muay Thai champion in the Philippines and has a 4-1 record in MMA. He should represent no challenge for Tenshin in the RIZIN kickboxing ruleset, but he is a promising MMA prospect.
In addition to the Nasukawa-Biagtan fight, Sakakibara also announced a fight for star kickboxer TAIGA. Also under RIZIN kickboxing rules, the Japanese star will face off against talented Brazilian fighter Thalisson Gomes Ferreira. Both fighters are coming off defeats in the RISE World Series, though Ferreira put up a very good showing. A return to winning ways is in order for both men.
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