Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama will make the next defence of her title against South Korean standout Seo Hee Ham at Jewels: “24th Ring” on May 25th in Tokyo, Japan. The 48-kilogram championship fight was officially announced by the promotion today.
Sugiyama captured the title with two victories in one night at Jewels: “17th Ring” in late 2011, but she is coming off of an upset loss to Celine Haga in a two-round non-title bout this past weekend. Ham drops back down in weight to challenge for the belt after campaigning at 52 kilograms in recent years.
Sugiyama (8-2-0) first made a name for herself in the former Valkyrie promotion, where she won three straight bouts and upset champion Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada in a non-title fight. She went on to win her first five fights under the Jewels banner against the promotion’s top fighters in the 48kg division. This past October, Sugiyama travelled to the United States to face Jessica Penne for the inaugural Invicta FC Atomweight Championship. She suffered a second-round submission loss to Penne and returned to action in Japan at Jewels: “23rd Ring” on Saturday. Sugiyama was unable to get anything going against Haga and dropped a Unanimous Decision.
Ham (9-5-0) has been one of the top female fighters in Asia since her February 2007 MMA debut when she upset then-DEEP Women’s Lightweight Champion Hisae Watanabe in a non-title fight. Following the 48kg bout with Watanabe, Ham moved up in weight and she has spent most of her career in the 52kg division, where she has totalled notable wins over Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka (twice), Mika “Future Princess” Nagano and former Valkyrie Featherweight Champion “V.V” Mei Yamaguchi. The talented striker has not fought since suffering a fight-ending back injury in a December 2011 title fight with Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion Ayaka Hamasaki and now looks for a career resurgence at 48kg.
The championship bout will be contested over three 5:00 rounds using Jewels special rules, which permit strikes to the head on the ground.
Jewels: “24th Ring” takes place on May 25th at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.