Monday, February 1, 2016

Saya Ito Interview

Photo Courtesy of Lady Go!
While I was in Japan, I had the opportunity to meet Saya Ito and watch her train for a little bit. Despite only being 16 years old, Saya has amassed an amateur record of 78-12-3 and a professional record of 10-2-1. She recently became the WPMF champion when she defeated Little Tiger by UD in September of 2015. The two are set to fight again on 3/21.

CJ: How did you get involved in martial arts?
Saya: My brothers did it! When I saw them doing it, I thought that I'd also like to do that! 
CJ: Are they still involved?
Saya: No, they stopped!

CJ: It seemed like Little Tiger did not want to fight you, like she was avoiding you. Did you think the same thing?
Saya: All I wanted was to fight Little Tiger!

CJ: You went to her press conference and called her out. Was that your idea? If so, why did you do it?
Saya: The idea was my coach's. I really wanted to fight Little Tiger, so that is why I did it!

CJ: How did you feel before the fight, were you confident you would win? Was there anything you practiced in particular?
Saya: I was confident. I just trained like I always do, but right before the fight I worked on what I thought I needed to work on.

CJ: What kind of opponent was Little Tiger?
Saya: She has a strong low kick. But she's only been fighting Thais, so she's gotten used to their rhythm. Because of that, I came forward!
CJ: You used a lot of elbows in the fight, is that a recent development?
Saya: Yes, recently. There was no special reason, I was training them so I used them!

CJ: You two will be fighting again. She lost to you, then lost to someone else. Coming off of two losses what do you expect?
Saya: Little Tiger is the one who said she wanted to fight again. So I imagine she must be training really hard.

CJ: You made it seem like there is a difference in Thai rhythm and Japanese rhythm, what's the difference?
Saya: If you only fight Thais, it's going to be difficult to switch to Japanese who come forward. I've had the same problem. That's why I really practiced coming forward and fought that way.

CJ: Don't you think that Japanese women don't really use the plum?
Saya: There aren't that many muay thai fighters in Japan. There are a lot more kickboxers, so they don't really use the plum that often.
CJ: Do you train it allot?
Saya: I don't really train it that much.

CJ: You've trained in Thailand before, how was that?
Saya: It was very intense training. But I remember all of the plum technique.
CJ: While you were there you got to train with some strong female fighters, what was that like?
Saya: In Japan I train with boys a lot so it was nice.

CJ: Ja will be fighting in Japan soon. Do you think you'll go see the fight? What do you think of the match?
Saya: On the same day a fighter from my gym has a fight at a different place, so I don't know if I'll be able to go and see it. I think she'll win. But there will be a weight difference and her opponent will come at her and may be able to overwhelm her.

CJ: Is there anyone you'd like to fight?
Saya: I'd like to fight a fighter from America or Europe. 
CJ: Would you like to fight in either of those places?
Saya: I want to, now the place I want to fight most is America.
Cj: Like Lion Fights for example?
Saya: YES!!
CJ: Haha, do you watch Lion Fights?
Saya: Occasionally

CJ: You became champ last year. Do you have any goals for this year?
Saya: I want to take the WMC title.
CJ: Is Little Tiger the WMC Champion?
Saya: I don' t know, it is probably someone else!
CJ: How often do you want to fight?
Saya: I'd like to fight once a month if I can!

CJ: Now for a fan question, if you could become another fighter, who would it be?
Saya: I'd be Rika (Throngkriasaen), because she is a fighter that I have a lot of respect for.
CJ: What was your reaction when you heard she is retiring?
Saya: I didn't really get to see that many of her fights but I would have liked to have gotten to see more.
CJ: Both Erika and Rika retired while they were still young, how long do you think you want to fight for?
Saya: Up through highschool I want to fight allot. Once I graduate from highschool I will have to think about whether or not I want to keep fighting so often or decrease the amount. I don't think I will continue for a long time.

"No elbows? No Knees? Don't Make Me Laugh"

I'd like to thank Saya for taking the time to answer my questions and for letting me come watch her train. Saya will be fighting Little Tiger in a rematch, where she will be defending her newly acquired WPMF title.

1 comment:

  1. do you have information on when and where phetjee jaa’s fight in japan will be? I am in Tokyo and would love to see her fight in person.