On December 9th we'll see a new Japanese female Minimumweight champion being crowned as Nanako Suzuki (5-2, 1) and Sayo Segawa (1-1, 1) battle for the currently vacant title, which was given up by former champion Yuma Narita following her first defense last December.
Aged 22 Suzuki is the younger fighter, despite having more professional experience than Segawa. Suzuki debuted at the age of 17, back in 2017, and scored win on debut before suffering her first loss in her second bout, when she was beaten by Eruka Hiromoto. She bounced back with a couple of wins, including one over Ka Yan Won in Hong Hong, but was beaten in a minor surprise in 2019 as she returned to Hong Kong and lost to Renz Dacquel. Since that loss she has notched up back to back wins and built some momentum whilst also winning her first 6 rounder.
In the ring Suzuki is an energetic little fighter, who bounces on her feet a lot and comes forward behind a busy jab. Sadly she is tiny and whilst her jab is busy it's not a damaging one. It also doesn't really set the table for her other shots as her right hand is slow and wide and her other shots often look more like slaps than full blooded punches. She's very much a developing fighter, but she looks like a novice in there with a lot of work to do. Offensively she's not particularly sharp, though she is quick. Sadly though she is very open defensively and so far she's been lucky not to have faced opponents able to really take advantage of all her defensive holes.
Segawa was a former amateur standout before beginning her professional career in 2019. She impressed in her debut, beating a Thai visitor, but was beaten in her second professional bout. Whilst she is an inexperienced professional she was very established in the amateur ranks, coming 3rd in the All Japan Championships and scoring more than 30 wins with almost half coming by stoppage. Sadly though she is diminutive, and is less than 5 foot tall, which will be a problem as she steps through the levels of the sport.
Given her amateur credentials it will be little surprise to learn that Segawa's a polished fighter. She does things properly, her shots are crisp and clean, her movement looks natural and educated, and her footwork is solid, though somewhat rigid. She picks her shots well, she sets a good tempo and she looks like a much more polished version for Suzuki, tidying up a lot of the flaws we mentioned with Suzuki. Sadly she's lacking power, and doesn't seem to put too much on her shots, but she is quick, aggressive and clearly understand what she's doing in the ring.
We suspect Suzuki can go on to win a title in the future. Here however we expect the polish and amateur skills of Segawa to be the difference maker, and her loss last time out will act as the sort of bout to correct her focus, and develop a more intelligent gameplan, rather than holding her feet as she did last time out,
With neither fighter having much in terms of power we can't imagine this one finishing early, we do expect a lot of shots landed by both in an exciting and very fun fight. Just unfortunately for Suzuki we don't think she has the tools to beat the more polished Segawa.
Prediction - UD6 Segawa
Here we preview the key female title bouts involving an Asian fighter.