Rena Kubota, Mio Tsumura Victorious At 2017 Shoot Boxing Girls S-CupShoot Boxing Women’s Flyweight Champion Rena Kubota extended her remarkable winning streak to 23 fights with a hard-fought decision victory tonight at the 2017 Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup in Tokyo, Japan. Kubota defeated Jleana “Nikita” Valentino in a rematch from a 2015 MMA bout.

Kubota’s teammate and protégé, two-time Girls S-Cup winner Mio Tsumura, scored an impressive win of her own in tonight’s co-main event. Tsumura defeated Hanna “Tyson” Gujwan in an action-packed matchup. Elsewhere, Gabi Garcia and Megumi Yabushita fought to a No Contest at heavyweight.

 

Kubota (35-5-1 SB/KB; 4-0-0 MMA) countered Valentino’s early aggression on the feet with a hip toss attempt in round one, but she was unable to get enough height on her throw to earn a point. Valentino kept the pressure on with kick-punch combos until Kubota trapped her in a standing guillotine choke late in the round. The fighters traded more kicks in round two until Kubota blasted Valentino with a flurry of punches and threw her to the mat, but she was once again denied a point. After Valentino also failed with a throw attempt, Kubota finally achieved a Shoot Point with a quick throw before the bell.

Early in the final round, Kubota landed a combination and Valentino answered back with body kicks and a wild spinning backfist. Kubota countered with a left hook to the liver and tried for a belly-to-back suplex, but Valentino defended well and time expired. Scores were 30-28 twice and 30-29 for Kubota, who took the Unanimous Decision victory. She has not lost a combat sports fight since September 2011 when she dropped a decision to current UFC fighter Jessica Penne under shoot boxing rules.

“Jleana is strong. I felt t\that in MMA band again today, too,” Kubota commented in the ring after the fight. “She is strong and has a beautiful heart. I like her even more now. I wanted win by KO and I’m sorry that I could not. I am able to fight because of all of you, and I love you all.

“I did fight [Valentino] in MMA and I ate too many straight punches in that fight,” Kubota added backstage. “I was too cautious and did too much watching. I am the challenger in MMA, so I can be aggressive. I am too calm when shoot boxing. She is a nice fighter, so I balanced risk versus reward and that made for a more calm fight. I will focus on the Rizin tournament and I still need to improve in MMA. I can’t say I will win the tournament, but I hope to say that after the first round. All of my training has a good effect on MMA and shoot boxing.”

 

Tsumura (29-2-0 SB) ate a hard left hand and a series of follow-up punches from Gujwan in the opening seconds of their fight, but she maintained her composure and answered back with powerful kicks to the body. In between landing punching combinations, Tsumura attempted two throws, but neither one was high enough to earn a Shoot Point. In round two, Tsumura landed quick kicks until Gujwan cracked her with a lead left hand. Tsumura dropped Gujwan with a kick-punch combo, but Gujwan survived the standing eight count. Tsumura swarmed on her with more punches in the final minute.

Gujwan tried for a spinning backfist in round three and Tsumura responded with overhand rights and a left hook to the body. The fighters traded power punches and Tsumura got the better of the exchange. She tripped Gujwan after catching a kick, and the fight ended with another exchange of punches. Scores were 30-27 across the board for Tsumura, who took the convincing Unanimous Decision win.

“I got nervous but I enjoyed the fight. I wanted to get a finish,” Tsumura stated backstage following her win. “[Gujwan] has power, but I was able to overcome it. I’m not the type of fighter who remembers everything during a fight, but I could hear my corner’s advice more and that made it easier for me. Rena asked me why I didn’t finish it there and she was right. I have a tendency to throw single strikes and I need to train combinations more frequently. I expect to fight again soon and I will get the KO next time.”

 

Garcia countered Yabushita’s lunging strikes with big knees and body kicks in the opening seconds of their mismatched fight. After knocking her much smaller opponent down, Garcia landed an illegal soccer kick and was penalised one point. The fight continued and Yabushita dove forward for a takedown, but Garcia landed another soccer kick at the same time and it dislocated Yabushita’s shoulder. Garcia was given a Red Card, but the kick was ultimately deemed to have been unintentional. With Yabushita unable to continue, the fight was declared a No Contest.

“I was supposed to fight Jazzy [Gabert], but she won’t accept,” Garcia noted backstage. “I threw a high kick as she tried for a takedown. I did not think that she was grounded yet. I feel that my striking has improved. I had a fever and the doctor said this fight would be cancelled if I was still sick on fight day. I did not want any excuses, so I did not talk about that before the fight. I chose fighting as my life, so there are no excuses anyway. I will fight next time with 100% health.”

 

Earlier on the card, veteran shoot boxing contender Akari “Union” Nakamura (20-12-1 SB/KB) destroyed South Korean newcomer Shi-yoon Jeong in the first round. Jeong opened the action with crisp right hands and body kicks, but Nakamura fired back with combinations. She backed Jeong into a corner and landed rapid-fire punches that dropped Jeong to the canvas. She stood up just before the referee completed a standing eight count, but Jeong was still badly dazed and the fight was stopped at the 58-second mark.

“The cut down to 47kg is too hard for me,” Nakamura said backstage following her KO victory. “I can train better without the weight cut. Rena is too far away from me currently, but I want to face her at some point in the future.”

 

J-Girls kickboxing veteran Mina Sakurai took home a one-sided Unanimous Decision victory over Deep Jewels contender Shizuka Sugiyama. Sakurai scored Shoot Points in rounds two and three with hip toss throws, but it was her dominance on the feet that toldt he story of the fight. She stunned Sugiyama with combinations on multiple occasions, and Sakurai’s speed proved to be too much for the MMA veteran. Scores were 30-27 twice and 30-28 for Sakurai, who walked away with a well-deserved win.

“Sugiyama is an MMA fighter, but I expected her to want to strike,” Sakurai commented backstage. “I said that I would show a beatdown, but I couldn’t and that is regrettable. I want to take a title fight, but I don’t have any opponents in the same weight class as me. I have offers to compete abroad and I would like to do that.”

 

MMA standout Ayaka Miura overcame a tough weight cut en route to posting a clear-cut Unanimous Decision win over Yoko Odamaki. Miura was relentless with hip toss throws throughout the fight, which yielded two Shoot Points in the first round and one more point in round two. That was easily enough to seal the victory in her favour. Scores were 30-27 and 29-27 for Miura at the end of three rounds.

“I want to fight in MMA, but if I have an opportunity to compete in shoot boxing again, I will take it,” Miura stated backstage. “I want to be an MMA fighter who is able to compete abroad.”

 

Misaki Morita battled back after a slow start in round one and finished Nana Okuwaki in the second stanza. Okuwaki started strong with kicks, but Morita began to find her range with counterpunches and she mixed things up with throw attempts. Okuwaki escaped from a standing guillotine choke, but Morita blasted her with hard punches before the bell. In round two, unloaded with non-stop punches that forced Okuwaki to wilt against the ropes. She was given two standing eight counts by the referee. Morita did not let up with her punches and the fight was finally stopped at the 2:06 mark of round two.

“I watched Nana’s amateur fight and I thought she was strong, but I knew that I could win in my home ring,” Morita said backstage. “I will be like Rena or Mio and the other great fighters. I can’t lose to up and comers. I feel the pressure. Because of that, I am satisfied with the KO. I want the J-Girls belt and also to fight Mio again. People talk about me being from the same gym as Akari [Nakamura], and I know that she will be strong if we ever fight.”

 

Opening up the card, Megami Tagawa scored an upset Unanimous Decision win over the highly-touted Riri Nasukawa in a semi-pro bout. Tagawa outstruck her opponent with varied attacks throughout the three-round bout, including a big combination of punches late in the final round. Scores were 30-28 and 30-29 twice for Tagawa, who impressed onlookers in victory.

Shoot Boxing founder Takeshi Caesar commented on the fights after the conclusion of the event, which drew a strong crowd of 2344 at Tokyo Dome City Hall.

“I wanted Rena to be able to get a finish and I felt that she had improved when she did the backdrop,” Caesar stated. “She trains at the same level as men at her gym. Rena lea us to this larger venue. We will do more events at smaller venues as well. Gabi [Garcia] and [Megumi] Yabushita had too much of a size difference, but I saw Yabushita’s courage. I want to match Gabi up against fighters who are the same size as her.”

Full play-by-play for all bouts on tonight’s Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup card can be found here.

 

 

(Photo Credit: Shoot Boxing)