Saya Ito Defeats Little Tiger Again, Retains WPMF Title At "M-ONE"WPMF Women’s Pinweight Champion Saya Ito retained her title with a five-round decision victory on Monday night at “M-ONE” in Tokyo, Japan. Ito earned her second win over former champion Ayaka “Little Tiger” Miyauchi, whom she first defeated for the 100-pound WPMF title in September.

Ito, who turned 17 in January, has become one of Japan’s most popular female Muay Thai fighters since her initial bout with Miyauchi. She solidified her spot atop the pinweight rankings with another impressive performance in Monday’s title rematch that ended in a Majority Decision victory for Ito.


The opening round began with a cautious exchange of body kicks until Ito (78-12-3 amateur, 12-2-1 pro) unleashed a flurry of punches and two front kicks. She followed with another combination and tripped Miyauchi (27-15-5) after catching a body kick. Miyauchi landed a side kick to the face later in the round, but Ito countered with a one-two and a powerful kick to the body. All three judges scored the opening round even at 10-10.

Round two began with another exchange of front kicks to the body, but the fighters were much more aggressive and Ito stalked Miyauchi with quick punch-kick combos. She dumped her to the mat and continued to press the action on the feet. Miyauchi landed a nice right hook and a straight left hand, but Ito finished the round with a right hook and two body kicks. Two judges awarded the round to Ito.

Early in round three, Ito scored with a series of punches that led to a brief clinch near the ropes and both women landed knees before being separated. Ito rushed in again and she landed more punches before clinching once more. The pace remained high as the fighters threw knees to the body and battled for position. Ito continued to score with body kicks and she knocked Miyauchi off-balance with a stiff jab. In spite of that, all three judges scored the round 10-10.

Miyauchi caught a kick early in round four and she tried to trip Ito to the mat, but Ito stayed on her feet. As the round progressed, Miyauchi peppered her with knees to the body and inside-leg kicks, and Ito replied with a pair of one-twos that backed Miyauchi up. In the final minute, both fighters landed kicks to the body and Miyauchi targeted Ito’s lead leg.

Ito held nothing back in the final round and she landed a series of stinging kicks to Miyauchi’s lower and upper body. Miyauchi answered with kicks of her own, but Ito tripped her and she landed a hard one-two after Miyauchi returned to her feet. Ito got the better of the striking exchanges in the second half of the round and she kept Miyauchi on the defensive with lead left hooks and right body kicks.

The action-packed bout went to the scorecards and one judge had it even at 49-49. The remaining two judges both saw it 49-48 for Ito, who retained her title and extended her winning streak to 11 fights.

Winner: Saya Ito by Majority Decision (49-48, 49-48, 49-49) after five 2:00 rounds. She improves her professional kickboxing record to 12-2-1 and remains the WPMF Women’s Pinweight Champion.



(Photo Credit: Hirofumi Sugi)