At just 16 years of age, Mizuki Inoue will be the youngest participant in Sunday’s Rough Stone Grand Prix at Jewels: “Tenth Ring.” The kickboxer from Aichi, Japan enters the 56kg bracket of the tournament in her mixed martial arts debut against Abe Ani Combat Club prospect Emi Murata.
Despite her young age, Inoue has already made a big impression in three kickboxing bouts this year. On July 25th, she shocked many by upsetting MMA veteran Emi Fujino in her professional kickboxing debut and she is coming off of another one-sided victory on September 20th.
While it is not unusual for Japanese fighters to enter professional combat sports at a young age, Inoue (0-0-0 MMA; 2-1-0 Kickboxing) will compete alongside fighters over twice her age at “Tenth Ring.” She enters the four-woman 56kg bracket of the 2010 Rough Stone Grand Prix and is just two wins away from capturing a significant title in a sport that she has yet to compete in. Should she be victorious in both bouts, Inoue would be the youngest female fighter to ever hold an MMA title in a major promotion.
In Murata (1-0-0), Inoue faces a taller fighter with a style that differs greatly from her own. Training at the famed Abe Ani Combat Club alongside pound-for-pound queen Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii, Murata is a skilled grappler with excellent takedowns. She submitted the winless Harumi in her professional mixed martial arts debut at Jewels: “Ninth Ring.” Murata needed just 68 seconds to secure an armbar for the victory and is now seen as a frontrunner to win the 56kg bracket of the tournament.
While she will hold a significant edge in grappling experience over Inoue, Murata will not want to stand and trade strikes with the talented teen who trains out of the White Heart Karate Association.
Inoue was unable to follow up on her upset victory over Fujino and dropped a close Majority Decision to Kanako Taniyama in a two-round amateur bout at Krush.9 on August 14th. Five days later, she turned 16 and got back on the winning track with a lopsided 30-26 victory over Fight Chix representative Anna at J-Girls: “Catch The Stone 10” on September 20th. Now, with less than three weeks to prepare, Inoue will step into a tremendous opportunity in her MMA debut.
In the other 56kg semi-final, Asako Saioka (3-4-0) faces Harumi (0-15-0). The winner will move on to face the victor of the bout between Inoue and Murata in the tournament final, which takes place on December 17th at Jewels: “Eleventh Ring” at the famed Korakuen Hall.
Jewels: “Tenth Ring” takes place this Sunday, October 10th, at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan.
Jewels: “Tenth Ring” Fight Card (subject to change):
– Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka vs Celine Haga [2010 Lightweight Queen Grand Prix Quarterfinal]
– Miki Morifuji vs Aya “Ariya” Koyama [58kg Non-Tournament Bout]
– Kikuyo Ishikawa vs Misaki “Patora” Ozawa [48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Yoko Kagoshima vs Yukiko Seki [48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Miyo Yoshida vs Mai Ichii [52kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Hiroko Kitamura vs Rina Tomita [52kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Emi Murata vs Mizuki Inoue [56kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Asako Saioka vs Harumi [56kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Semi-Final]
– Sakura Nomura vs Yoshimi “Arika” Ohama [Shootboxing Match]
– Asami Higa vs Sachiko Togashi [48kg Amateur MMA Bout]
One-Day 52kg Grappling Tournament Participants:
– Yuko “Amiba” Oya, Asami Kodera, Ayaka Hamasaki, Emi Tomimatsu
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)