Two-time Girls S-Cup champion Rena Kubota earned one of the biggest victories of her career tonight at Rise 85 in Tokyo, Japan. Kubota defeated current S-Cup champ Erika Kamimura in a much-anticipated rematch from an April exhibition to become the first Rise Queen kickboxing champion.
While there was no official winner in the pair’s one-round exhibition match in April, Kamimura dropped Kubota and dominated much of the brief contest. Tonight’s bout was contested under full kickboxing rules across five rounds and Kubota was victorious via Unanimous Decision in a considerable upset.
Kubota (17-5-1 KB/SB) and Kamimura (23-2-0 KB/SB) traded punches right away and Kubota scored with a counter right hand. She put together quick combinations and mixed in kicks. Kamimura found a home for her left hook and jab, but Kubota kept her at bay with front kicks late in the round.
Kamimura targeted the body in round two, but Kubota countered with a quick one-two and Kamimura was given a Yellow Card for holding. Action resumed and Kubota landed more front kicks. She scored with a combination late in the round and returned to her corner to cheers at the bell.
Both fighters were given Yellow Cards for excessive clinching early in round three. It was Kamimura’s second infraction and she was deducted one point. Kamimura became impatient and began to get reckless with her strikes. Kubota found success with more front kicks, but Kamimura managed to land left hooks as the round progressed.
Kamimura looked to close the distance in the fourth round and tried to keep Kubota isolated in a corner, but Kubota’s counterpunches and kicks continued to rack up points. She landed a kick-punch combo and Kamimura fired back with right hands. Kubota defended against punches in close before the bell.
The final round began with more left hooks from Kamimura and Kubota countered with straight right hands. Kubota scored with a front kick to the face, but both fighters were given Yellow Cards for holding and both subsequently lost a point apiece. Kamimura tried to close out the fight with big left hooks, but Kubota’s front kicks kept her guessing all the way until the final bell sounded to end the fight.
The scorecards were read and all three judges sided with Kubota, who captured the promotion’s first “Rise Queen” championship with the upset victory. Tonight’s rematch was contested at 48 kilograms (106 pounds) and Kubota appeared to be in the best fighting shape of her career. The win gets her back on track after a shocking loss to Jessica Penne in a September Shoot Boxing match.
Winner: Rena Kubota by Unanimous Decision (48-46, 47-46, 46-45) after five 3:00 rounds. She improves her combined kickboxing and shoot boxing record to 17-5-1 and becomes the first Rise Queen kickboxing champion.
In post-fight comments, Kubota stated that she was more happy to have defeated rival Kamimura than to have won the title belt itself and later reflected back on what she called a “really bad year.” Kubota had contemplated retirement earlier this year, but said that she was glad that she had continued on and believed in herself and her abilities.
“I’m the strongest female. Thank you!” she concluded.
Go Yamamoto contributed to this report.
(Photo Credit: GBRing.com)