Floyd Mayweather stopped mixed martial artist Mikuru Asakura in the second round of the pair’s exhibition boxing match in Japan on Saturday (24 September).
Mayweather, 45, has competed in a number of exhibition fights since retiring unbeaten as a professional boxer in 2017, and his clash with Asakura, 30, proved one of the more entertaining.
The bout at the Saitama Super Arena in Asakura’s home country was scheduled for three three-minute rounds, and a fun opening frame gave way to an even more competitive second round, in which Mayweather dropped Asakura with the final punch before the bell.
It was a right cross that clipped Asakura on the ear and sent the Japanese fighter sprawling, and the MMA star was unable to beat referee Kenny Bayless’ count.
Prior to the stoppage, Mayweather – a former multiple-weight world boxing champion – made a point of staying light on his feet, with southpaw Asakura drawing big reactions out of the American with feints.
Mayweather showed off his renowned defence by parrying most of Asakura’s jabs and blocking the 30-year-old’s heavier punches, before landing a few of his own to the head and body before the end of the first round.
In the second round, the intensity increased after Mayweather landed a clean, step-in right cross to the head of Asakura, whose professional MMA record stands at 16-3 (1 No Contest). The shot led Asakura to fire back with greater intent and try for a series of stern hooks in the clinch.
After Bayless separated the fighters, Mayweather applied pressure by backing up Asakura and landing to the head twice in quick succession. Asakura retaliated with his best spell of the fight, appearing to stun Mayweather somewhat before the 45-year-old employed some effective head movement to get himself off the ropes.
Both fighters then connected with a number of straight punches in the final seconds of the second round, with Mayweather dropping Asakura on the bell and leaving the mixed martial artist unable to beat Bayless’ count.
“I would like to thank the whole country of Japan, an incredible country,” Mayweather said after the fight. “A round of applause for this incredible competitor right here. Another unbelievable experience. I’m just happy to be here, thanks again.
“I’m happy we were able to give the fans excitement tonight. Thanks for having me, I’ll be back.”
In his previous exhibition fights, Mayweather stopped kickboxing star Tenshin Nasukawa in the first round in 2018, before going the distance with YouTuber Logan Paul last summer and also hearing the final bell against unbeaten boxer Don Moore this May.
Mayweather is set to take on YouTuber Deji next, in Dubai in November.