Jewels: "19th Ring" Main Event Cleared, Sugiyama OverweightWeigh-ins for tomorrow’s Jewels: “19th Ring” event were held at P’s LAB in Osaka, Japan on Friday. Headliners Ayaka Hamasaki and Yuka “Vale Tudo Queen” Tsuji successfully hit the marks for their Jewels Lightweight Queen Championship bout, which will be contested over three rounds.

Jewels Featherweight Queen Champion Naho “Sugi Rock” Sugiyama came in overweight for her non-title rematch with final Valkyrie titleholder Yasuko “Ikuko” Tamada. Sugiyama will begin tomorrow’s co-main event bout with a yellow card. All other main card participants made weight without issue.


The “19th Ring” main event pits unbeaten Megumi Fujii protégé Hamasaki (6-0-0) against one of Japan’s most decorated female fighters, Tsuji (23-2-0), in Hamasaki’s second title defence. She became the promotion’s first champion in December 2010 and retained the belt in a rematch with South Korea’s Seo Hee Ham one year later. Tsuji returned from a lengthy injury hiatus and scored a dominant decision win in July. Both Hamasaki and Tsuji weighed in at 51.8 kilograms for their 52-kilogram (114.4-pound) title fight, which will use “Jewels Special Rules” that permit strikes to the face on the ground.

“My condition is good,” Hamasaki said at the weigh-ins. “I don’t want to think of this as a title fight or title defence. I want to be aggressive. Tsuji is strong and I had to train a lot of sprawling, but I don’t want to focus too much on that. I want to be on the offensive by always moving forward.”

“My impression of my opponent hasn’t changed because I’ve seen her fight before,” Tsuji said. “I really like to fight with ground and pound allowed, so I was happy to be able to train with that, too! My training partners made sacrifices for that. I will feel sorry if I lose, and therefore I must win. I’ve been told that it is easier to challenge [for a title] than to defend, and now I totally understand that. I have nothing to lose. I’m going to crush my opponent’s strength. I will punch her as many times as possible on the feet and on the ground, wherever the fight goes.”

Tomorrow’s co-feature is a rematch between Sugiyama (7-0-0) and Tamada (12-7-3), who first faced off in the Valkyrie cage in November 2010. On that night, the roles were reversed and Tamada was the reigning champion. Sugiyama took a clear-cut Unanimous Decision victory, but Tamada’s title was not on the line. Sugiyama went on to capture the Jewels championship this past December and now looks to pick up her second win over the veteran Tamada. Sugiyama weighed in heavy at 48.8kg on her first try and was only able to get down to 48.3kg on a second attempt. Tamada successfully made weight at 47.2kg for the 48-kilogram (105.6-pound) fight, which will also use Jewels Special Rules.

“I am really sorry that I could not make weight,” Sugiyama said following the weigh-ins. “I should have begun cutting weight earlier. I know that my opponent is strong because I already fought her. Last time, we fought to a decision, so this time I want a knockout or a submission. This is an Osaka event and has many Osakan fighters, but I want people to recognise my name.”

“My condition’s good,” Tamada said. “I’m a bit nervous, though, because there’s been a longer break since my last fight this time. My impression of my opponent is that she has good balance and a strong waist and legs, so she won’t be easy to take down. I want to be focused when I fight tomorrow.”

Remaining weigh-in results for the MMA portion of the card are as follows:

48kg: Sachiko “Sachi” Yamamoto (48.0kg) vs Sadae “Manhoef” Suzumura (48.0kg)
53kg: Mika “Future Princess” Nagano (52.9kg) vs Anna Saito (52.6kg)
46kg: Yukiko Seki (45.3kg) vs Yuko Kawabata (45.2kg)
59kg: Mayumi “Super Benkei” Aoki (58.1kg) vs Keiko Tomita (58.0kg)


Go Yamamoto contributed to this report.



(Photo Credit: Jewels blog)