The quarterfinal matchups for the 2011 Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup have now been announced. This year’s field includes familiar faces and newcomers, and over half of the participants are also active mixed martial artists. The event will take place on August 19th at Shibuya-Ax in Tokyo, Japan.
Among those participating are Seo Hee Ham, Mei Yamaguchi, Emi Fujino and Tomomi Sunaba. A planned bout between titleholders Erika Kamimura and Ai Takahashi has been scrapped from the card after Takahashi suffered an orbital bone injury. Kamimura will now face Kanako Oka in round one.
In the first quarterfinal bout, WPMF and WMC Women’s Mini-Flyweight champion Erika Kamimura will face Kanako Oka. Kamimura is seen as one of the tournament favourites and engaged in an exhibition match with 2009 and 2010 Girls S-Cup Champion Rena Kubota in mid-April. Kamimura dominated the exhibition contest and will enter this year’s tournament against Oka, who holds a shoot boxing win over teen Jewels prospect Mizuki Inoue.
The second tournament bout pits kickboxing and MMA veteran “Windy” Tomomi Sunaba against Miyo Yoshida, who has fought three times in mixed martial arts since late 2009. Sunaba has not competed in kickboxing for nearly five years, but has remained very active in MMA and has won five of her last six fights over the past 18 months. Yoshida will make her Girls S-Cup debut after posting a 1-1 record in Jewels MMA bouts in 2010.
2009 Girls S-Cup runner-up and 2010 semi-finalist “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi will once again compete in this year’s tournament. She will face a tough test in J-Girls standout Mina, who is currently ranked as the number-three challenger in the featherweight division. Yamaguchi advanced to the finals of the 2009 tournament on the strength of her throws and she employed standing submissions last year. Mina brings an impressive striking pedigree into the bout.
Lastly, MMA stars Seo Hee Ham and Emi “The Kamikaze Angel” Fujino will square off in an intriguing matchup. Ham, who has split her time between mixed martial arts and kickboxing and has had success in both sports, will hold a decided striking advantage over Fujino, who is coming off of a December loss to Megumi Fujii in Sengoku. Fujino is an experienced fighter, however, and could use her strength to avoid Ham’s striking by throwing her to the mat.
Left to Right: Mina, Tomomi Sunaba, Miyo Yoshida, Seo Hee Ham, Shoot Boxing Chairman
Takeshi Caesar, Erika Kamimura, Mei Yamaguchi, Kanako Oka, Emi Fujino.
As in past years, the winner of this year’s Girls S-Cup will be required to win three times in one night. The winners of quarterfinals one and two will square off on one side of the semi-finals, while the winners of quarterfinals three and four face off in the other. The semi-final winners will meet in the tournament final to conclude the event.
Rena Kubota, who has won the tournament two years in a row, will compete in a non-tournament bout against Muay Thai star Zaza Sor Aree, who participated in last year’s S-Cup. Ai Takahashi is expected to be sidelined for a span of at least a few months due to her injury, which is suspected to be a fractured left orbital bone. She was present at today’s press conference in Japan.
Shoot Boxing combines the sport of kickboxing with standing submissions and high-arc throws, which earn “Shoot Points.” Bouts are scored in a similar manner to kickboxing, but fighters can win by a form of knockout, standing submission or judges’ decision. Combatants use larger, padded gloves that are traditional in kickboxing bouts.
The 2011 Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup takes place on August 19th at Shibuya-Ax in Tokyo, Japan.
Article updated on August 10th to reflect Rena Kubota’s newly-announced opponent.
(Photo Credits: GBRing.com)