The rise of female boxing since the 2016 Olympic has been fantastic, and whilst there is still a very long way to go for females fighters to get the respect and attention of their male counterparts we are on the right track. The media are finally getting behind the fighters and promotional outfits like Watanabe, Futur and DiBella Entertainment are helping push female boxing in a big way.
With the rise in female boxing comes more and more attention on the next generation of female fighters, the potential for female boxers to become stars and to make a name for themselves.
For us the female fighter who proved to be the best prospect in 2018 was 22 year old sensation Kasumi Saeki [佐伯霞].
Saeki debuted in May and fit 3 fights into the year, winning the WBO Asia Pacific Female Minimumweight title in the third of those bouts, stopping Wassana Kamdee on December 1st for the belt. In all 3 of her contests she looked fantastic, with ultra sharp movement, a clever understanding of the ring, and very crisp punching. She was defensively smart, aggressively exciting and didn't look like she rushed anything. In fact she was making her opponents look like they were in slow motion to her as she out skilled, out boxed and outsped them whilst putting herself firmly on the map as a female fighter to watch.
Although Saeki was the winner of those award Eri Matsuda does deserve an honorable mention, having gone 2-0 in the year and claimed the OPBF female Atomweight title in her very short career. She's looked impressive but was pipped by Saeki who just looked that bit more natural in the ring, with things appearing effortless to her. Together they look set to be the long term faces of female boxing in Japan.
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