Shizuka Sugiyama Returns At Jewels: "Ninth Ring"After sitting out for the promotion’s most recent event in May, Jewels star Shizuka Sugiyama will return to action at Jewels: “Ninth Ring” on July 31st in a shootboxing match. She will face Jewels newcomer Esui, a native of Mongolia who previously worked as a professional wrestler.

Sugiyama, who competed on each of the first seven Jewels cards, took time off in May after suffering a disappointing loss to Miki Morifuji on March 29th. Along with fellow postergirls Saori Ishioka and Mika Nagano, Sugiyama is one of the most prominent fighters currently competing for Jewels.

Sugiyama (6-2-0) won her first five fights – four inside a Jewels ring – before dropping a lopsided decision to German prospect Alexandra Sanchez in the opening round of the 2009 60kg Rough Stone Grand Prix. She rebounded with a victory over Yukiko “Ko” Ozeki at Jewels: “Sixth Ring” in December, but struggled in the bout with Morifuji and opted to take time off to refocus. She will face Esui under shootboxing rules and believes that it will provide her with an opportunity to work on her striking skills, which are less formidable than her solid ground game.

Esui (0-0-0), who will make her Jewels debut at the event, previously worked as a professional wrestler before departing the industry in February. Now training with PRIDE veteran Akira Shoji, Esui was recently victorious in an amateur grappling match in DEEP and now plans to test her developing striking abilities against Sugiyama. The Mongolian is considerably larger than Sugiyama and will have to cut down to make the contracted 62kg (136.4 pounds) weight limit. A victory over Sugiyama, even under shootboxing rules, would be an incredible start to Esui’s tenure in Jewels.

Also on the card, the opening round of the 2010 Jewels Lightweight (115-Pound) Queen Grand Prix kicks off, while a 48kg (105.6 pounds) non-tournament matchup pits Japanese veteran Misaki Takimoto against England’s Lisa Newton. The event takes place on July 31st at Shinjuku FACE in Tokyo, Japan.


2010 Jewels Lightweight (115-Pound) Queen Grand Prix participants (subject to change):

– Saori “Shooting Star” Ishioka (9-4-0)
– Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (6-3-0)
– Seo Hee Ham (4-3-0)
– Mai Ichii (3-3-0)
– Sakura Nomura (2-0-0)
– Ayaka Hamasaki (1-0-0)
– Celine Haga (1-4-0)
– *Final participant still to be determined.*



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