Mina Kurobe and Megumi Sugimoto faced off in the final of the super atomweight tournament at Shooto 0801 tonight. Many believed the youth of the latter would prevail against the experience of the former but it didn’t play out like that.
Kurobe’s game plan was very obvious after the first few minutes of the opening round. She applied pressure and closed the distance with sharp combinations. The veteran utilized this tactic so effectively that Sugimoto was rarely ever in the fight.
Sugimoto succeeded in keeping the fight upright with solid takedown defense but could not get anything going in the striking exchanges. Her strategy of throwing single punches was not enough to prevent Kurobe from marching forward and attacking with combinations.
When Kurobe was able to get the fight into the clinch she punished the 30 year old with dirty boxing. Sugimoto frequently found herself trapped against the cage and unable to escape.
Kurobe was the clear winner and walked away with the unanimous decision win and a cheque for 1 million yen ($9,400 USD). The 43 year old is the inaugural Shooto super atomweight champion and her record stands at 16-5.
Sugimoto came into this bout on the back of a four fight winning streak. But she was completely outclassed by the former Deep-Jewels champion and slips to 5-2 after losing her first ever title bout.
In the co-headliner, the Pacific Rim bantamweight title was up for grabs. Tatsuya Ando and Takumi Tamaru put on a real show for the fans with the fight settled well before the start of the second round.
From the start, Tamaru used his kicks effectively. To counter this, Ando pressed his opponent against the cage and dragged the fight to the canvas.
Even though Tamaru was stuck in a very vulnerable position on the bottom, he was able to roll out and get back to his feet without taking too much damage. The 24 year old was then able to connect with some solid combinations from a standing position.
Tamaru was gaining confidence in the exchanges and moving forward but walked straight into a barrage of punches from Ando which dropped him. From there the former bantamweight title challenger was relentless and continued to rain down strikes until the referee stepped in to stop the contest.
Ando (11-2-1) snatches up the Pacific Rim belt and is undefeated in his last seven fights. Tamaru (11-2-1), on the other hand, sees his four fight winning streak snapped after coming up short in the first title fight of his career.
Best of the rest
Ryohei Kurosawa enhanced his reputation as a knockout artist in his flyweight fight with Takamasa Kiuchi. He came out the gate with two solid inside leg kicks and a stiff jab that had his opponent’s head snapping back.
Kurosawa threw a jab to gauge distance followed up by a lighting fast overhand right that collapsed his adversary. Kiuchi ate a couple more before the referee stepped in to save him.
Kurosawa returns to the win column in spectacular fashion and moves his record to 13-2, while Kiuchi drops to 15-12-2 and continues the trend of trading wins and losses in his last ten fights.