Japan’s top female prospect, Mizuki Inoue, will make her strawweight debut at Jewels: “22nd Ring” on December 15th in Tokyo. Inoue is set to face Hyo Kyung Song in one of four bouts announced for the card today. The event will take place inside a cage for the first time in Jewels’ four-year history.
Also confirmed for the card is an atomweight bout between title contender Kikuyo Ishikawa and Tomo Maesawa. Ishikawa’s four-fight winning streak was snapped in December by Jewels champ Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama, but she rebounded with a victory in May under the Pancrase banner.
Inoue (3-1-0) has made just one appearance in mixed martial arts competition so far this year, but the 18-year-old prodigy has remained active outside of MMA. In August, she became the first Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup 53.5kg Champion by defeating veteran Ai Takahashi for a second time and she has since excelled in grappling tournaments as she continues to develop her jiu-jitsu game. While all three of Inoue’s MMA wins have come by way of submission, she is renowned for her striking skills and is one of the premier female strikers in MMA today.
Inoue was initially in talks to face South Korean standout and former Jewels title challenger Seo Hee Ham in December, but that bout failed to materialise and Inoue will instead battle Ham’s compatriot, Song (0-1-0), who made an unsuccessful MMA debut against former Smackgirl and Valkyrie champion Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji in September. Song is a talented striker in her own right, but she once again faces a tough opponent in just her second MMA fight. Inoue enters the bout as a heavy favourite and makes her debut at 52kg (114.4 pounds).
Ishikawa (7-3-0) looks to continue on the path back to a shot at the Jewels Featherweight Queen title held by Sugiyama when she returns to Jewels to face Maesawa (0-1-0) next month. Ishikawa is one of the most well-rounded female competitors in the 48kg (105.6-pound) division and she has improved in each fight. The 28-year-old most recently competed at home in Okinawa, Japan for the first time when she defeated teen prospect Shino VanHoose in mid-May. Maesawa debuted for Jewels in September against one of the promotion’s top stars, Mika “Future Princess” Nagano, but succumbed to an armbar late in round two. She now drops down to 48kg in hopes of securing an upset.
Like the Inoue-Song bout, Ishikawa and Maesawa will also compete using Jewels Special Rules, which permit strikes to the face on the ground.
A third MMA bout, to be contested using standard Jewels rules, was also announced for the card today. Yurika Tanaka (0-1-0) looks for her first Jewels win when she faces MMA debutant Rie Fukui (0-0-0). Tanaka suffered a second-round TKO loss to Shizuka Sugiyama at Jewels: “21st Ring” in September. Fukui also competed at “21st Ring” and fell victim to a Kimura from Misato Kimura in a grappling match. Rounding out today’s additions is a kickboxing match between Reina Matsuda and Harumi.
Jewels: “22nd Ring” takes place on December 15th at Differ Ariake in Tokyo, Japan. For the first time in the promotion’s history, the event will be contested inside a cage instead of a ring.
Jewels: “22nd Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):
– Ayaka Hamasaki vs Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino [Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship – 3×5]
– Shizuka Sugiyama vs Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi [59kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Satomi Takano vs Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada [46kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Mika “Future Princess” Nagano vs Rina Tomita [52kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]*
– Mizuki Inoue vs Hyo Kyung Song [52kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Kikuyo Ishikawa vs Tomo Maesawa [48kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Yasuko Mogi vs Keiko Tomita [56kg Jewels Special Rules – 2×5]
– Yurika Tanaka vs Rie Fukui [65kg Jewels Official Rules – 2×5]
– Naomi Taniyama vs Mina Kurobe [48kg Jewels Official Rules – 2×5]
– Mayumi “Super Benkei” Aoki vs Satoko Ozawa [60.5kg Kickboxing Rules – 3×3]
– Reina Matsuda vs Harumi [51.5kg Kickboxing Rules – 3×2]
– Naoko Omuro vs TBD [Jewels Exhibition MMA Match]**
*Tomita’s retirement bout.
**Omuro’s retirement bout.
(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)