Saya Ito Faces Yukari Yamaguchi On June 17 Muaylok CardThirteen-year-old “Muay Thai Genius” Saya Ito faces one of the toughest tests of her 83-fight kickboxing career on June 17th in Tokyo, Japan. Ito is set to battle fellow eighth-grader Yukari Yamaguchi at Shobukai: “Muaylok 2012 – 2nd” in a 44kg bout officially announced on Wednesday.

Ito, who has been training in kickboxing since age four, recently earned her 70th victory. She won the Top Run under-16 girls’ kickboxing tournament in October. Yamaguchi won her brief MMA debut at Jewels: “17th Ring” in December and is coming off of a kickboxing win under the J-Girls banner.

Ito (70-10-3; 20 KOs) has spent much of her career competing against male opponents and she has won numerous titles in both Japan and Thailand. The talented youngster has long been regarded as one of the top young strikers in her country. In late October, she defeated Akane Komori and Yuuki Kira to win a one-night Top Run tournament. Two months later, she battled Chihiro Imoto in the finals of the inaugural Jewels under-15 kickboxing tournament, but dropped a Unanimous Decision. She has since maintained an extremely active schedule, including in other bouts promoted by her Shobukai gym, and now looks for one of her biggest victories to date.

Yamaguchi (3-0-0) gives up a considerable amount of experience in kickboxing competition to her opponent, but she too got an early start in combat sports. At age three, she joined Hakushinkai Karate, where she currently trains alongside top Jewels and Shoot Boxing prospect Mizuki Inoue. Three years later, she took up kickboxing, and jiu-jitsu training followed soon after. This past December, Yamaguchi demolished Nana Ichikawa in her amateur MMA debut, and she now looks to follow in Inoue’s footsteps by splitting time between careers in MMA and kickboxing. Yamaguchi is seen by some as an even brighter prospect than her Hakushinkai teammate and she now aims to score her second kickboxing win of 2012 just two days before she celebrates her 14th birthday.

Shobukai: “Muaylok 2012 – 2nd” takes place on June 17th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan. The bout between Ito and Yamaguchi, billed as the “Muay Thai Genius” versus the “JC Fighting Genius,” will be contested at 44 kilograms over two, two-minute rounds.



(Photo Credit:

  1. Saya will wreck her! Shobukai kids train a different level, as evident by their many champions. IMO this is a mismatch putting such an inexperienced fighter against Saya who has numerous straps in Japan and Thailand. In MMA rules MAYBE Yamaguchi has a shot, but in Muay Thai…no way.

  2. Haha, well I actually think that Yukari is going to win so that makes it an even more intriguing fight. No matter who wins, hopefully some kind soul will film it so we can watch.

  3. I should be there, so I can send you the fight. Shobukai should also make a dvd, I can get that as well…yeah I’ll admit I’m a bit biased as my kids train w/ Saya, but regardless Saya takes this easily..IMO. Oh and great job on Sherdog the other day, very informative.

  4. I train with Saya all the time and trust me, when it comes to Muay Thai rules, I dont think Yukari will be able to beat her. Yukari is good, but Saya fights guys in Muay Thai BECAUSE she’s too good. I dont know, I think Saya will win.

  5. Yukari’s definitely the underdog, and with good reason, but I’m not willing to count her out entirely because I know people who have been to her gym and have told me that she is really, really good as well. Same thing for your upcoming fight with Kikuyo, Shino. People might count you out because of your inexperience, but you’re super talented and could shock all of them by beating her. Both are good fights, in my opinion.

  6. That’s true. I guess because I train with Saya, I’m being a little bios. I do think Yukari is really good though. Both are. I guess we’ll just have to see (; haha.
    & Thank you! yeah, I think a lot of people are expecting Kikuyo to win, but i just have to bring my all. IM NERVOUS! hahaha.

  7. Haha, well being a bit nervous is normal, but don’t worry. It’s a great opportunity and all you can do is your best. If you win your fight, I believe that you will be the youngest fighter in MMA history to be ranked in the top 10 in a division. That possibility alone is pretty incredible, so you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished already in such a short time.