Japanese superstar Rena Kubota captured her third Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup title tonight at Yamano Hall in Tokyo. The 21-year-old outlasted three opponents to become the first three-time S-Cup winner. Kubota will undergo surgery for a nagging injury and hopes to return in the coming months.
Kubota’s protégé, Mio Tsumura, also claimed a tournament title tonight. Mio defeated two opponents en route to becoming the first JKS48 high school girls’ tournament champion. Elsewhere, teen prodigy Mizuki Inoue defeated Ai Takahashi for a second time in the Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup 53.5 final.
In tonight’s championship bout, Kubota (20-5-1 SB/KB) and four-time Girls S-Cup participant “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi (7-4-0 SB) faced off in a rematch from the 2009 Girls S-Cup final. Kubota once again scored a three-round decision win over Yamaguchi, but Yamaguchi remained competitive throughout and put on an impressive performance throughout tonight’s single-elimination tournament.
Rounds one and two of the tournament final were very close, with neither fighter holding a clear edge. Kubota landed quick combinations, but Yamaguchi scored with punches of her own and clinched in search of throws. Kubota pulled away in the final round with punches and a front kick to the face. Yamaguchi again tried for a throw to earn a much-needed shoot point in the dying seconds, but it was not to be. All three judges scored the fight 30-29 for Kubota, who captured her third Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup tournament title.
“My condition wasn’t very good today, but my coaches and team supported me,” Kubota said after the fight. “I’m having surgery after this fight, but I will be back to take the 50kg belt.”
The inaugural Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup 53.5 tournament concluded tonight with a rematch between Inoue (4-1-0 SB) and Takahashi (12-4-0). Inoue, who celebrated her 18th birthday six days ago, upset Takahashi in a non-title bout in February. Takahashi subsequently vacated her Shoot Boxing Japan Women’s Flyweight Championship earlier this week due to her move up to the 53.5kg bantamweight division.
Inoue was forced to battle Takahashi through six rounds tonight, but she once again emerged victorious over the veteran. The opening rounds were even as the fighters cautiously looked to find their range with jabs and quick punching combinations. Takahashi attempted a guillotine choke in round three and Inoue rallied back strong in round four with knees and hard punches in close. Takahashi was aggressive with body kicks and punches in round five and reversed a late throw attempt.
After five rounds, the judges were divided. Scores were 50-49 Takahashi, 49-48 Inoue and 49-49. The fight went to a sixth and deciding round and Inoue took control. Her speed and punches were too much for Takahashi and the judges had no trouble in awarding Inoue with a Unanimous Decision victory. Scores were 10-9 across the board.
“Finally I become champion,” Inoue said post-fight of her year-long quest to capture a combat sports title. “I’m really glad, but I still need to improve a lot. Thank you for your support.”
Mio Tsumura upped her shoot boxing record to a perfect 7-0 with two victories tonight to become the first Shoot Boxing JKS48 high school girls’ tournament champion. Tsumura stopped Akari “Eneos” Nakamura midway through the second round to earn the tournament title.
The opening round of the Tsumura-Nakamura bout was close and competitive, with neither fighter landing anything damaging. That all changed in round two, however, as Tsumura staggered her opponent with a head kick and followed with a barrage of punches. Nakamura survived a standing eight-count, but Tsumura continued to batter her with punches and Nakamura’s corner threw in the towel to end the fight at the 1:09 mark of the second round.
Tsumura follows in her mentor Kubota’s footsteps by capturing her first Shoot Boxing championship.
In Girls S-Cup semi-final action earlier in the night, Rena Kubota punched her ticket to the final with a close but Unanimous Decision victory over South Korean kickboxing standout Seo Hee Ham (3-2-0). Kubota and Ham fought to an extension round, where Kubota’s striking control and throw attempts were enough to earn her 10-9 tallies on all three scorecards.
Yamaguchi earned her spot in the tournament final with a dominant Unanimous Decision win over Dutch Muay Thai champion Lorena “Lady Pitbull” Klijn (1-1-0 SB). Yamaguchi and Klijn were evenly matched through three rounds, but their extension round was anything but competitive. Yamaguchi scored two shoot points for throws and Klijn was docked a point for an illegal kick on the ground. Yamaguchi ultimately won the round and the fight with scores of 10-6 and 9-6 twice.
The quarterfinal round of the Girls S-Cup went largely as expected, with one notable exception. Rena Kubota handily defeated Australian Kim Townsend (0-1-0 SB) via Unanimous Decision with scores of 30-25, 30-26 and 30-27. Ham defeated ultra-late replacement Lisa Ellis (0-1-0 SB) via Unanimous Decision with scores of 30-26 twice and 30-27.
Yamaguchi overcame a significant height and reach disadvantage to narrowly defeat 17-year-old Thai prospect Namtarn Por Munagpetch (0-1-0 SB) after one extension round in their quarterfinal bout. Scores were 10-9 across the board for Yamaguchi, who carried the momentum all the way to the final. The lone upset in the opening round of the tournament came when Klijn defeated 2011 Girls S-Cup winner “The Strongest Female High School Student” Erika Kamimura (25-3-0 SB/KB) after an extension round. All three judges saw the fight for Klijn with scores of 10-8 and 10-9 twice.
In JKS48 semi-final action, Tsumura secured her spot in the tournament final with a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory over Yusa Tachi. Tsumura dominated the striking exchanges and took the victory with scores of 30-28 twice and 30-29. Nakamura moved on to the final round with a Unanimous Decision win over Nako Otsuka in the second JKS48 semi-final. Nakamura took the win with scores of 10-8 and 10-9 twice after one extension round.
Rounding out the card was a non-tournament bantamweight (53.5kg) bout between Rio Kamikaze and Seira Aragaki. Kamikaze survived a strong first round from Aragaki and rallied late in the fight with an impressive hip toss that earned her not one but two shoot points. The throw made all of the difference, as Kamikaze squeaked past Aragaki via Majority Decision. Scores were 30-28, 29-28 and 28-28.
Full play-by-play for all fights on the 2012 Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup card is available here.