Six Fights Announced For Jewels: "16th Ring" In SeptemberLeading all-female promotion Jewels announced a total of six fights today for its “16th Ring” card on September 11th in Tokyo, Japan. All four quarterfinal matchups in the Jewels Featherweight Queen Tournament are now set, and the winner of the grand prix will become the first Jewels champion at 48kg.

Jewels showcased its first eight-woman tournament last year and crowned Ayaka Hamasaki as the first Jewels Lightweight Queen Champion at 52kg. The winners of this year’s quarterfinal bouts will advance on to “17th Ring” on December 17th, where the champion must win twice in a single night.

In quarterfinal number one, the top female strawweight in MMA, Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama (4-0-0), will face the returning Ayumi “Edge” Saito (8-5-0), who will compete for the first time since early 2008. Sugiyama defeated final Valkyrie Flyweight Champion Yasuko Tamada in a non-title bout in November and was impressive in winning her Jewels debut against Misaki Takimoto in May. Saito is a proven finisher and has stopped six of her opponents to date, but ring rust could be a significant factor and she will be facing the top fighter in the division.

The second quarterfinal pits the aforementioned Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada (12-5-3) against last year’s Jewels 48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix Champion Kikuyo Ishikawa (5-2-0). Tamada will make her first appearance since losing to Sugiyama in Valkyrie’s final show last year, but she was previously ranked at the top of the strawweight division. All but one of her fights to date have gone to a decision. Ishikawa has won three straight fights and is coming off of a big victory over veteran Sachiko Yamamoto.

Next is a bout between Misaki Takimoto (13-12-4) and Miyoko Kusaka (3-3-0). Takimoto’s three-fight winning streak came to an end when she was submitted by Sugiyama in May, but the veteran has faced the best of the best throughout her career and is the only woman to have defeated Miku “Supernova” Matsumoto twice. Kusaka has alternated losses and wins since making her pro debut in late 2009, but she recently rebounded from a loss to Sachiko Yamamoto by defeating Yuka Okumura at “15th Ring.” She will enter as an underdog against the more experienced Takimoto.

Lastly, Yukiko Seki (9-20-0), who dropped a contentious Split Decision to Kikuyo Ishikawa in the finals of last year’s 48kg Rough Stone Grand Prix, will face Sachiko “Sachi” Yamamoto (8-5-1). Despite her lacklustre record, Seki has won four of her last five fights and looked to have done enough to defeat Ishikawa, but two of the judges scored the bout in her opponent’s favour. She will face a tough test in Yamamoto, who returned in May after a 19-month layoff and defeated Miyoko Kusaka. Yamamoto was upset by Ishikawa in July, however, and will look to get back on track in the tournament.


In addition to the tournament matchups, one non-tournament bout and a kickboxing match were also announced for the card. Abe Ani Combat Club member Rina Tomita (3-5-0) will compete for the first time since undergoing successful surgery for cervical cancer in March. She faces Jewels mainstay Anna Saito (1-7-0) in a 54kg bout. In 58kg kickboxing action, Chikako WSR takes on Satoko Ozawa.

Jewels: “16th Ring” takes place on September 11th at Shin-Kiba 1st Ring in Tokyo, Japan.


Jewels: “16th Ring” Fight Card (to date; subject to change):

– Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama vs Ayumi “Edge” Saito [Jewels Featherweight Queen Quarterfinal – 2×5]
– Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada vs Kikuyo Ishikawa [Jewels Featherweight Queen Quarterfinal – 2×5]
– Misaki Takimoto vs Miyoko Kusaka [Jewels Featherweight Queen Quarterfinal – 2×5]
– Yukiko Seki vs Sachiko “Sachi” Yamamoto [Jewels Featherweight Queen Quarterfinal – 2×5]
– Rina Tomita vs Anna Saito [54kg Jewels Official Rules – 2×5]
– Chikako WSR vs Satoko Ozawa [58kg Kickboxing Rules – 3×2]