Rina Okamoto, better known as Panchan Rina, is set for an extended spell on the sidelines. She recently underwent knee surgery and says it will be a year until she is ready to fight again.
Panchan Rina ruptured her ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and it needed to be completely reconstructed:
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The kickboxing star had an operation to repair damaged ligaments in her knee. It was successful but it will be six months before she can begin rehabilitation and then another six months until she is ready to fight.
The 28 year old made history at Rizin 30 last year, beating Momoka Mandokoro by decision. In her most recent bout she won the Knock Out <48kgs title but that win last month seems to have come at a cost.
She has previously held the Rebels <46kgs belt and is one of the most recognizable female kickboxers in Japan with a big following on Instagram.
Several MMA fighters have managed to mount a successful comeback after tearing their ACL. Among them former UFC champions Conor McGregor (Is Conor McGregor going to buy Man Utd?) and Georges St Pierre.
Panchan Rina need only look to Kyoi Horiguchi (Kyoji Horiguchi: I’m the real champion’!) for inspiration. He tore his ACL, spent a year on the sidelines and then came back to beat Kai Asakura (Kai Asakura wants to try kickboxing) and claim the bantamweight title in a rematch at Rizin 26 (Kyoji Horiguchi makes successful comeback at Rizin 26).