PhotoCred: RIZIN FF (Kushimax)

Seika Izawa talks Ayaka Hamasaki rematch for gold at Rizin 35

Ayaka Hamasaki vs Seika Izawa II goes down on April 17th at Rizin 35. This super atomweight championship bout transpires at Musashino Forest Sport Plaza in Chofu, Tokyo, Japan.

Izawa shocked the world and secured one of the biggest upsets of the previous calendar year. They run it back for an immediate rematch in 2022.

I spoke with Izawa ahead of this title bid. Excerpts from our chat are below.

Seika Izawa

If Izawa has been able to fully process the significance of the Hamasaki win the first time out

“People around me are talking about it and they’re all excited about it. They are definitely talking about the significance of what I’ve done. But for me, I don’t really feel like I’ve gotten extremely better in such a short period of time. I don’t feel like I’ve improved that much as a fighter. So I try not to get that stuff in my head. For me, it’s a good thing that I won. It’s a good thing that people around me are talking about it. For me, it hasn’t changed too much.”

Winning a non-title fight and then contending for the belt also happening in DEEP Jewels for Izawa

“For me, I really try not to get that into my head. I don’t really think about it. Just try to think about it in a very simple way. It’s just me fighting the same fighter, the same opponent twice.”

Ayaka Hamasaki vs Seika Izawa II

Holding DEEP Jewels gold at 115 pounds, now contending for Rizin gold at 108 pounds, and if there’s a preferred weight category between those two

“For me right now, I think I would have no problem with fighting in both weight classes. But when I fight at strawweight, I barely have to cut. I have almost no weight cut. So when you think about it in a competitive view, in a bigger picture, I think super atomweight division or atomweight division will be more suitable for me.”

If there will be a pronounced tactical shift in this rematch as compared to the initial Hamasaki fight

“In the last fight, I went in there without a plan. For this one, I think I’m going to go in there without a plan as well. But what I know is that Hamasaki is going to adjust her fight style and she’s going to approach this fight differently. I think she’s going to try to keep more distance, she’s going to try to strike more. I think the key point of this fight is going to be how I can approach her striking and fight my fight. That’s going to be the key point for this fight.”

Rizin 35

Parting thoughts for Seika Izawa

“So a message to the international fans. I’m just a beginner, I’m still very green. I’ve got a lot of work to do. But I promise you that I will work hard and build my skills up. Someday I will make sure that everybody will know my name Seika Izawa globally. So please stay tuned. I appreciate your support. Thank you very much.”

author avatar
Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.