Ayaka Hamasaki, Rina Okamoto Impress In Victory At Rizin FF 30In a rematch almost nine years in the making, Rizin FF Women’s Super Atomweight Champion Ayaka Hamasaki scored her second victory over friend Emi “Kamikaze Angel” Fujino tonight at Rizin Fighting Federation 30 in Saitama, Japan. Hamasaki outpointed Fujino in a non-title 49kg bout.

Just as she did in the pair’s first matchup in December 2012, Fujino rallied late in tonight’s rematch, but it was not quite enough to seal a victory for the Pancrase champ. Earlier on the card, kickboxing sensation Rina “Panchan” Okamoto stayed unbeaten by defeating veteran Momoka Mandokoro.


Hamasaki (23-3-0) targeted Fujino’s (25-12-0, 1 NC) taped left knee with kicks in the early goings of the fight and Fujino responded with a left-right combo. More leg kicks scored for Hamasaki and Fujino landed another one-two. Hamasaki followed up on a leg kick with a lead right hook that backed Fujino up, and she stunned Fujino with a left hook soon after. Fujino’s left eye began to swell up and Hamasaki pawed out with jabs. Fujino grazed with a right hook and Hamasaki landed two leg kicks after switching stances.

Round two began with Hamasaki immediately landing a combination and she faked a takedown to keep Fujino guessing. Fujino landed a straight right and then fired off a right hook to Hamasaki’s body. Hamasaki jabbed and avoided a lunging right hand from Fujino. She landed lead right hooks and a left cross while staying outside of Fujino’s range. Late in the round, Hamasaki dropped Fujino to a knee with a counter right hook, but Fujino quickly returned to her feet.

The fighters circled in the final round and Hamasaki darted in and out with straight lefts until Fujino landed two hard right hands and clinched. Hamasaki reversed against the ropes and Fujino fell as the fighters separated. She rose to her feet and landed another right hand as Hamasaki resumed circling. Fujino’s left eye continued to swell shut, but she landed jabs and Hamasaki began to bleed from her nose and mouth. Both women landed right hooks and Fujino clinched with Hamasaki in a corner. After breaking apart, Hamasaki landed a lead right hook and ate a right cross from Fujino in return.

Judges Oyabu, Kataoka and Matsumiya all scored the fight for Hamasaki, who extended her winning streak to four with the Unanimous Decision victory. She is 9-1 under the Rizin FF banner, with the lone defeat coming via razor-thin Split Decision against Seo Hee Ham in late 2019.

“I am really glad that I could fight Emi on this big stage and I will treasure this memory,” Hamasaki commented backstage following her win. “She was aggressive, as expected. I was planning on doing both striking and grappling, but it became a fun striking fight. Jyoji Nogi taught me that my left straight would land, so I used it. I want to go out to eat with Emi again after this fight! I don’t know who will be next for me to face when opponents are limited for Japanese fighters right now.”

“I regret my defeat, but at the same time I feel fresh after the fight,” Fujino said. “I have mixed emotions due to my opponent being Ayaka, and I saw her laughing during the fight. I was able to have the striking fight that I wanted and that is why I feel fresh. Compared to our last fight, I got to compete in front of a lot more people this time. [Hamasaki] has much better striking than nine years ago. I tried for a takedown, but the potential to get armlocked made me hesitate to persuit it. I want to continue fighting because I love it. Nothing is more interesting to me than fighting.”


Okamoto (12-0-0 KB) attacked right away with strong leg kicks and right hands in the opening seconds of her Rizin FF debut. Mandokoro (20-18-0 KB) landed a nice right hand and Okamoto pushed her away with two front kicks. She landed another leg kick and backed Mandokoro up with a combination. Hard punches were exchanged late in the round and Mandokoro scored with leg and body kicks.

The second round opened with a combination from Okamoto and both women landed quick leg kicks. Okamoto remained effective with front kicks and she snapped Mandokoro’s head back with a one-two. Okamoto jumped in with a flying knee and followed with a series of front kicks. Mandokoro landed two body kicks and Okamoto continued to chop away at her lead leg.

Mandokoro landed a one-two early in the final round that drew a smile from Okamoto, who resumed throwing front kicks. Mandokoro followed with a nice combination and Okamoto responded with a leg kick. She scored with a hard right cross and then another one soon after. The fight ended with an exchange of punches and Okamoto landed two more right hands.

Scores were 30-29 and 30-28 twice for Okamoto, who took the Unanimous Decision win. Despite her strong showing, Okamoto was critical of her performance when discussing the bout backstage.

“[Momoka] has a strong heart, but I wanted to shut her down with my skills,” Okamoto said. “I want to be a finisher and I wanted to be the first fighter in [Rizin FF] women’s kickboxing to secure a finish. In training, I thought I could get the finish, but I couldn’t tonight. I landed calf kicks and tried to deal damage with that, but I couldn’t do combinations well. Only single strikes.

“I think women’s kickboxing needs fighters to have charm and strength, and it’s still a minor-level sport for now,” Okamoto added. “I felt that Momoka was aggressive because she wanted to put on a show, too. I am relieved now because a win is a win, but I need to help to expand this sport and I need more opportunities to do so.”

“I am sorry to the people who supported me,” a disappointed Mandokoro said backstage. “[Okamoto] is aggressive and big. Rizin is a big stage and I was really excited about it. As for my performance, I could not land the leg kicks that I had trained, so I regret that. I was aware of her front kicks and prepared for them. Some people still dismiss women’s kickboxing, but we will change their minds.”



(Photo Credit: Rizin Fighting Federation)

  1. when does Panchan fight again?

  2. If there is an event on New Year’s Eve, as there presumably will be, it’s possible that she could be booked to fight on that. The New Year’s Eve events are generally the longest and have often featured kickboxing in the past.