|Born||August 18, 1998|
Chiba Prefecture, Japan
|Other names||Shindo (神童 Prodigy)|
|Height||165 cm (5 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||57.5 kg (126.8 lb; 9.1 st)|
Bantamweight (Rise Kickboxing, -55 kg)
Super Bantamweight (Muay Thai)
Featherweight (Muay Thai, Rizin Kickboxing)
|Style||Kyokushin Karate, Kickboxing|
Team Teppen (Teppen Gym)
|Trainer||Hiroyuki Nasukawa (father, Teppen Gym president), Takashi Ito (Target president), Yuji Okamoto (boxing coach), Yūichi Kasai (part-time boxing coach)|
|Rank||Black belt in Kyokushin Kaikan|
Black belt in Shin Karate
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Amateur kickboxing record|
|Boxing record from BoxRec|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
|Years active||2020 - present|
|Total views||34 million|
Updated: October 21, 2020
Tenshin Nasukawa (那須川 天心, Nasukawa Tenshin, born August 18, 1998) is a Japanese kickboxer and mixed martial artist, based in Tokyo, Japan. Tenshin is the current Rizin Kickboxing featherweight world champion, former Rizin bantamweight champion, and the 2017 Rizin kickboxing flyweight tournament champion. He is the current RISE Featherweight champion, and the former bantamweight champion.
As of October 2020, he is ranked the #1 Super Flyweight and #2 pound for pound kickboxer in the world according to Combat Press, and has been ranked as such since September 2020. He's been in the pound for pound top ten since June 2019. Combat Press ranked him as the #2 flyweight in the world between May 2019 and August 2020. He was ranked as a top ten bantamweight between April 2018 and April 2019.
Tenshin became famous due to his knockout victories over former IBF boxing world champion Amnat Ruenroeng and Lumpinee Stadium Muay Thai champion Wanchalong PK Senchaigym. The latter was chosen as the 2016 Knockout of the Year by Combat Press. In 2019, he was named the Male Fighter of the Year by Combat Press.
It is said that he initially started learning Kyokushin Karate at age 5 as his father who worried about his timidity forced him to enter a karate dojo. He won the Kaminarimon championship in Kyokushin Junior World Championship when he was a fifth grader in elementary school. After that, he became more drawn to kickboxing and began to train it.
"I practiced karate until I was in sixth grade. I was winning competitions at a national level,” he told Bleacher Report. "I wanted to participate on that big stage. There was no specific individual that inspired me. I was attracted to the stage."
Nasukawa's kickboxing style is influenced by Boxing, Muay Thai and his Kyokushin Karate background. Nasukawa fights out of the southpaw stance, and is primarily a counter puncher, staying on the outer perimeter of the ring and landing as his opponents try to move in to land strikes. He is well known for his tendency to mix in acrobatic techniques like spinning kicks, rolling kicks, and jumping knees with high precision and success.
“I don't even want to imagine what kind of fighter he will turn out to be in five years,” one of Nasukawa’s opponents, MMA fighter Yusaku Nakamura said in praise. Nasukawa defeated Nakamura in a kickboxing bout by technical knock out after Nasukawa dropped Nakamura three times. In the fight Nasukawa landed a counter spinning drop kick to Nakamura's face, breaking his nose.
Tenshin amassed an amateur record of 105-5-1 by the age of 15 before he turned professional in kickboxing.
Winning the RISE Bantamweight title
Nasukawa’s training began when he started Kyokushin Karate at just five years old, and he set his sights on joining one of Japan’s premier fight promotions.
Nasukawa made his professional debut in the Blue Arena Stadium in Samut Prakan, where he was scheduled to fight Ploydaeng Looksuan. Nasukawa won the fight by a fourth round KO, after dropping Looksuan with a knee to the body. Returning to Japan, Tenshin won his next five fights. He scored first round knockouts over Tomo Arimatsu, Aleksandro Hideo, Kim Jin Min, and Masahiro Fujimoto, as well as a decision win over Makoto Kushima.
This six fight winning streak, earned Nasukawa the chance to challenge the incumbent RISE Bantamweight champion Yuta Murakoshi, when he was just sixteen years old. Nasukawa won the fight by a second round TKO.
Blade Japan Cup
After winning the RISE Bantamweight title, Tenshin entered the Blade.2 –55 kg Tournament. He was scheduled to fight Masahiko Suzuki in the quarterfinals. In the finals he faced the future SHOOTBOXING champion Taiki Naito, and defeated him by TKO midway through the first round.
Winning the ISKA title
Nasukawa then returned to RISE, where he was scheduled to fight Mike Alamos during RISE 108. Nasukawa knocked Alamos out in the first round, by a knee to the body. Two months later, during RISE 109, Nasukawa won a unanimous decision against Manolis Kalistis. He was next set to fight Keisuke Miyamoto, whom he defeated by a second round KO.
Nasukawa would then take part in the most high profile fight up to that point, being scheduled to fight the former Lumpini Stadium World champion Wanchalong PK.Saenchai. Nasukawa won the fight by a spinning back kick KO, after just 38 seconds. This win was followed by a fourth round KO of the former IBF champion Amnat Ruenroeng.
Winning the Rizin Flyweight tournament
During Rizin FF 9, Nasukawa participated in the 2017 Rizin Flyweight tournament. In the semifinals, he TKO'd Yuta Hamamoto, and in the finals he scored a first round TKO win over Yamato Fujita.
Winning the RISE Featherweight title
Nasukawa was scheduled to fight Rodtang Jitmuangnon for the vacant Rise Feather weight championship. The fight went into an extra round, after which Nasukawa won a decision. Tenshin's behavior during the fight was controversial, as he was able to call his own time-outs, stalled for time, as well as telling the referee to stop the bout for groin shots which, in review, never occurred. The fight results was controversial as well, with analyst Jack Slack writing: "Tenshin Nasukawa was awarded the decision, keeping his undefeated record, but it was a hard sell and it came at the expense of the judges’ credibility."
RISE World Series
He fought Suakim PK Saenchaimuaythaigym in the RISE World Series semifinals, and won by TKO, after the doctor stopped the bout due to a cut caused by a rolling thunder. Tenshin then fought Shirō in the World Series finals. Nasukawa won the fight by a unanimous decision.
Nasukawa has been calling out Three-division K-1 champion Takeru Segawa since June 8, 2015. But due to contractual obligations, both fighters were not able to meet in the ring. At that time, K-1 and Rise were in a "Kickboxing Cold War" since 2010.
On August 5, 2015, Takeru told the media that he was interested in fighting Nasukawa if K-1 can organize it. K-1 Japan group producer, Mitsuru Miyata, demanded that Nasukawa sign an exclusive contract with K-1 to be able to make the fight happen. Nasukawa's trainer and RISE president, Takashi Ito, told combat sports magazine Fight & Life, that he will agree to let Nasukawa fight in a K-1 event but he's not willing to give up Nasukawa to an exclusive contract with K-1.
In 2015, K-1 officially made a partnership with the new MMA promotion, Rizin Fighting Federation. Rizin president, Nobuyuki Sakakibara, announced that Rizin is willing to make partnerships with every fighting organization so RISE began to work with Rizin as well. This deal made it more possible for a Nasukawa–Segawa matchup.
On November 21, 2015, Takeru made his first defense of his K-1 55 kg world title against Charles Bongiovanni, he won the fight by TKO. After the match, during the in-ring interview, Takeru announced his desire to fight in Rizin, 2 weeks after Nasukawa announced the same. When Takeru returned backstage, Nasukawa approached him and demanded the fight. The fight can happen in Rizin even with the Rise and K-1 cold war. During the press conference, Takeru mentioned that he did not recognize Nasukawa and could not understand what he was saying due to the crowd noise and thought he was just a fan. Takeru confirmed that he is willing to accept the fight if offered. After this event, Nasukawa tweeted that Takeru agreed to fight him on New Year's Eve.
On December 8, 2015, Rizin announced a fight between Takeru and Chinese fighter, Yang Ming, for their New Year's Eve event. At the press conference, Rizin president, Sakakibara, acknowledged requests to make a Nasukawa vs. Takeru fight, however, he said there wasn't enough time to promote the fight and promised to try to make it happen in 2016.
In 2016, Nasukawa signed with Rizin to fight on a December event. However, K-1 suddenly ended their partnership with Rizin. K-1 have tried to avoid any mention of the fight.
On June 18, 2017, after Takeru knocked out Buvaisar Paskhaev, K-1 commentator, Masato, expressed his desire to see Takeru fight Nasukawa but the 2 other commentators ignored his comments. 2 days later, K-1's official YouTube channel uploaded the full fight video of Takeru and Paskhaev but a few hours later it was deleted and re-uploaded with without Masato's comments.
On August 29, 2017, Rizin executive Nobuhiko Takada said on Twitter, "Two of the biggest superstars of kickboxing, Takeru vs Tenshin Nasukawa should be made right now! If this super-fight will not happen due to the (sic) cold war, it is heinous crime! Let's make this! Make miracle!" A few hours later a K-1 broadcaster trolled Takada on Twitter. A few days later, Takada apologized and promised to never talk about a fighter from another organization and deleted every tweet about Nasukawa vs Takeru.
On December 31, 2017, Nasukawa won Rizin's Kickboxing 57 kg tournament. In an attempt to quash the cold war and influence K-1 and Rise to make the Takeru fight, Nasukawa made sure the show was being broadcast live so Rizin was not be able to cut any of his comments. Post-fight, in the ring, Nasukawa engaged the crowd by asking who they want him to fight next and the crowd screamed Takeru's name.
In February 2018, M-1 Sports Media, which operates K-1, filed a lawsuit against Tenshin, his father Hiroyuki, Rise president Takashi Ito and Rizin president Sakakibara. According to the lawsuit, it all started three years ago when Nasukawa called out Takeru to fight. More recently during Rizin's New Year's Eve event when Nasukawa asked the audience who they want him to fight next. They claim that it's an unfair business practice to involve another fighter's name from a different organization. And, they claim that many people has negative image about Takeru run away from Nasukawa, and they lost 6 sponsors. And, they file a damage suit 137,000,000 yen. But, 1 of 6 sponsors told Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Shincho "Our contract of K-1, we distribute Bento 3 times only. We can't understand why K-1 demands too expensive money".
On March 16, 2018, Rise president Takashi Ito, former K-1 fighter Hiroya and his lawyer, accused K-1 Japan Group's exclusive contract, illegal based on the competition law. Hiroya's lawyer told the media, that the way K-1's contract work makes you not fight for a year for your contract to expire. Every fight you make with the organization, extends your contract for another year from your last fight and the only way to get out of the contract is not get paid for a year. Hiroya cites this as the reason why Segawa could not fight Nasukawa as he knows Segawa as a friend and will not back down to a fight.
Mixed martial arts
After his Muay Thai debut on December 5, 2016, Japanese MMA promotion Rizin Fighting Federation offered to make his MMA debut on their December 29 event. Nasukawa accepted the short notice offer, and began to train MMA for the first time. He won his first fight by TKO in the first round. After the fight, he announced his desire to fight in Rizin's New Year's Eve event 2 days later. Rizin president Nobuyuki Sakakibara granted his wish and he won the fight against Dylan Kawika Oligo by guillotine choke in the second round.
In 2017, MMA agent Shu Hirata, who manages UFC fighters Francis Ngannou and Takeya Mizugaki, told the media that the UFC offered Nasukawa a $60,000 (salary: $30,000,win bonus: $30,000) contract.
In January 2018, Nasukawa told Japanese sports magazine Sports Graphic, he wants kickboxing as his main sport until he becomes 22 or 23 years old, and after that, he would consider a shift in MMA or pro boxing.
On August 15, 2018, Evolve MMA announced that they have sponsored Nasukawa. Founder, Chairman, and CEO of both Evolve MMA and ONE Championship, Chatri Sityodtong, stated that he is interested in signing Nasukawa after his contract expires.
International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Famer, professional boxing promoter Akihiko Honda of Teiken Promotions Inc., have offered Nasukawa a move to boxing since he was 12 years old.
When Nasukawa was a 14-year-old junior high school student, Teiken Promotions offered Nasukawa a contract including a signing bonus of more than $100,000, but Nasukawa turned down the job due to his love for kickboxing. Teiken Promotions still continues to offer him a boxing contract. One of Teiken Gym trainer Yūichi Kasai, who made 4 world boxing champions such as Takashi Miura and Toshiaki Nishioka became Nasukawa's part-time boxing coach.
Nasukawa wants to fight both kickboxing and boxing. However, the Japan Boxing Commission doesn't permit Japanese professional boxers to fight in other professional combat sports. In September 2018, Nasukawa told AbemaTV, that he wants to fight boxing in other countries and stay as a kickboxer in Japan.
Three-division boxing world champion Naoya Inoue's trainer and promoter, former two-time boxing world champion Hideyuki Ohashi said "Nasukawa can win a boxing world title before his 2nd professional match, and the break world record of Vasyl Lomachenko and Saensak Muangsurin'". He is interested in a future bout between Naoya Inoue vs Tenshin Nasukawa in Tokyo Dome.
Nasukawa was offered to fight at the 2020 Summer Olympics. He showed interest in fighting at the Olympics, but he doesn't want to fight his friend and former teammate at Team Teppen, AIBA Youth 2016 World Champion, Hayato Tsutsumi.
On November 5, 2018, it was announced that Nasukawa was expected to face the undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. at Rizin 14 on December 31, 2018. The supposed rules for this bout were not determined. However, on 7 November, Mayweather stated that the fight had been announced in error due to a misunderstanding (claiming that he had never even heard of Nasukawa until the press conference), and that he had been booked for an exhibition fight for "a small group of wealthy spectators" that was not meant to be televised. On November 16, 2018, Mayweather announced that the fight is back on. It will be a 3-round exhibition boxing match. “There was a penalty clause in the contract of an undisclosed amount if he is to use any moves of an MMA nature.” In other words, if Tenshin had the urge to throw a kick, he would be heavily fined. In the one-sided fight, Nasukawa was knocked down 3 times in the first round and his corner subsequently threw the towel in. The match was controversial, however, and drew accusations of match-fixing.
Nasukawa is a southpaw and his style is a combination of kickboxing and full contact karate, both of which he has learned and competed at a very young age. Nasukawa is primarily a counter puncher, staying on the outer perimeter of the ring and landing as his opponents try to move in to land strikes. He is well known for his tendency to mix in seemingly flashy techniques like spinning kicks, rolling kicks, and jumping knees with high precision and success.
Titles and accomplishments
- 2019 ISKA Unified Rules Featherweight (57 kg) World Champion
- 2019 RISE World Series -58 kg Tournament Champion
- 2018 RISE Featherweight (57 kg) World Champion
- 2017 Rizin Flyweight (57 kg) Kickboxing Tournament Champion
- 2015 ISKA Oriental Rules Bantamweight (55 kg) World Champion (1 time title defended)
- 2015 BLADE Japan Cup (55 kg) Tournament Champion
- 2015 RISE Bantamweight (55 kg) Champion
- 2013 All Japan Jr. Kick - 55 kg Champion
- 2012 M-1 Junior - 50 kg Champion
- 2012 Bigbang - 50 kg Champion
- 2012 All Japan Jr. Kick - 50 kg Champion
- 2011 M-1 Junior - 45 kg Champion
- 2011 MA Kick Junior - 42 kg Champion
- 2010 M-1 Junior - 40 kg Champion
- 2010 Muay Lok - 35 kg Champion
- 2009 Kaminarimon - 35 kg Champion
- 2013 All Japan Shin Karate G-3 Grand Prix Champion
- 2010 All Japan Shin Karate K-4 Grand Prix Champion
- 2009 IKO Kyokushinkaikan All Japan Youth (U-10) - 40 kg Champion
|Professional Kickboxing and Muay Thai record|
39 Wins (30 (T) KO's), 0 Loss
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest Notes
|Amateur Kickboxing and Muay Thai record (Incomplete)|
99 Wins (37 (T) KO's), 5 Losses, 3 Draws
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest Notes
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|4 matches||4 wins||0 losses|
|Win||4–0||Yamato Fujita||Decision (unanimous)||Rizin World Grand Prix 2017: Opening Round - Part 2||October 15, 2017||3||5:00||Fukuoka, Japan|
|Win||3–0||Francesco Ghigliotti||KO (head kick)||Rizin 2017 in Yokohama: Sakura||April 16, 2017||1||1:07||Yokohama, Japan|
|Win||2–0||Dylan Kawika Oligo||Submission (guillotine choke)||Rizin World Grand Prix 2016: Final Round||December 31, 2016||2||3:37||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||1–0||Nikita Sapun||TKO (punches)||Rizin World Grand Prix 2016: 2nd Round||December 29, 2016||1||2:45||Tokyo, Japan|
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