Saya Ito Wins Long-Awaited Pro Debut At Muaylok 2014: 1stFollowing a 93-fight amateur career that included numerous title reigns, 15-year-old “Muay Thai Genius” Saya Ito made a successful professional kickboxing debut on Sunday night at Muaylok 2014: 1st in Tokyo, Japan. Ito defeated South Korea’s Hye-Young Park in the five-round co-main event.

Ito proved again on Sunday that she is one of the top female kickboxers in Japan by overwhelming Park with lightning-fast kicks and combinations. Park had success with overhand rights in the early rounds, but Ito’s speed proved to be too great and she cruised to a Unanimous Decision victory.


Ito (78-12-3 amateur, 1-0-0 pro) and Park (14-2-0) traded kicks in the opening minute and Ito targeted Park’s ribs and upper body. Park scored with a nice right hook and Ito responded by dumping her to the mat. She remained light on her lead foot and avoided many of Park’s leg kick attempts as the round progressed. Ito landed two powerful kicks to Park’s left arm before the bell.

The second round began with a trio of body kicks from Ito and Park fired back with two right hands. She threw a spinning back kick that grazed Ito’s liver and the fighters traded more kicks. Park caught a body kick and tripped Ito, but Ito got back to her feet and knocked Park down with a kick to the chest. In the final 30 seconds, both women landed left kicks to the ribs and quick one-twos.

Round three was all Ito. Whereas the first four minutes of the fight were competitive, Ito dominated the middle stanza with a barrage of fast-paced kicks. She scored with three- and four-kick combinations to the lead leg and body and prevented Park from landing much of anything in return. When Park finally clinched, Ito broke free with knees and she kept Park on the defensive with more quick kicks until the end of the one-sided round.


Hye-Young Park & Saya Ito
Hye-Young Park (left) and Saya Ito (right)  [Photo Credit: eFight]


Ito and Park exchanged heavy punches in the fourth round, but Ito got the better of the exchanges by mixing in more leg and body kicks. Park managed to sneak in two overhand rights, but they appeared to have no effect on Ito and the teen standout continued to press forward with kicks. Shortly before the bell, Ito landed a nice knee to the body and Park responded with three leg kicks.

The pace remained high in round five and Park snapped Ito’s head back with a front kick early on. She followed with a right hook, but that marked the end of Park’s meaningful offence. Ito knocked her down with a left kick to the liver and Park was slow to return to her feet, which prompted the referee to give her a standing eight count. The fight continued and Ito knocked Park off-balance with two front kicks to the chest in the final 15 seconds.

All three judges scored the fight in favour of Ito, who earned an impressive victory in her long-awaited pro debut. The 15-year-old has been fighting for more than 11 years and she has faced more than 40 male opponents during her career. Ito’s Shobukai teammate, Miiri Sasaki (1-0-0), also made a successful pro debut on Sunday’s card by defeating Yoko Odamaki (6-3-0) in a three-round bout. Scores were 30-28 twice and 30-29 for Sasaki, who showcased some nice kicks in victory.

Winner: Saya Ito by Unanimous Decision after five 2:00 rounds. She improves to 1-0-0 as a professional and 79-12-3 overall.



(Top Photo Credit: eFight)