Unfortunately, no win. Seina is a good and strong fighter. Actually, you shouldn't expect anything else at this level. The match was fairly close, but Seina came through well with hard right direct punches. We think they made the difference, which is why she won the match.
The weight of this match was slightly heavier than at what I normally fight. The match was at 54kg and normally I fight at 52kg. You would say those two kilos don't matter very much, but at this weight and level you feel this. I don't want to use this as an excuse let that be clear! But you do feel it.
What was especially crazy or difficult for me is that normally I have to do quite a strict weight cut and that was not the case now. I had to lose some weight of course, but a lot less. After all, those last two kg are usually the hardest. Now I could eat just about anything in the week before the competition because I was already at weight. I even had to eat a little extra every now and then because I was getting too light. Normally the last week is even more strict, which gives you a kind of focus. I missed that a lot this time. But it was a good learning moment.
Despite the weight, Seina is of course also just a very good fighter. I reasonably executed the plan we had come up with, but because of the good direct punches I did not manage to fully execute it as we had thought of beforehand.
After looking back at the match, I think the first round was the closest. But during the match it didn't feel that way at all. It felt like I had nothing to contribute and everything was going wrong. When I came to the corner after the round, my trainer told me to step it up a notch. I really wanted this, but actually the second round went even worse. In fact, I think it was the least round on my part. After this round, my trainer was a bit angry. It wasn't just him, my face didn't show any friendliness either. The third round I went full out and gave it my all. This round was also pretty close, maybe I got this round I don't know. But of course one lap is not enough to win.
Outside the race, of course, much more happened. For example, the weigh-in with a press conference. I often find this a bit overdone, but very nice to see and talk to the other fighters. There were also other fighters from the Netherlands this time. Ahmed Akoudad, Victor de Koning and Petru Morari I already knew, because they have the same management as me (Kickboxing Fearless). In addition, I also met Zakaria Zouggary and Abraham Vidales. And I talked to Chad Colins and Petch Panomrung. Them I had met last year when we were in Japan. I think it's really super cool and an honor that I get to be in the same ring as these big names and really bizarrely good fighters. The other fighters coming from Japan I haven't really talked to. Many of them don't speak English well so then it's hard to communicate with them.
In Japan, the "fan culture" is very different than in the Netherlands. People show much more their appreciation that you have come there and come to fight. Not only the spectators, but also the organization itself is very happy that you are there. I always feel a lot of appreciation by these people.
Before the game, I went to watch some games with my trainer Ernst. We were just sitting in the crowd, but I felt like people were watching us or something. At one point some people came up to us and asked if they could take a picture with me. Then a few more people came and asked this. I think they didn't dare to ask at first, but when they saw that the others were doing it they dared anyway.
I always love it when people ask this. It does feel a little strange that people want to take a picture with me. But this is a situation where you feel appreciated.
Tessa de Kom fought on Dec. 16 at the RISE World Series 2023 in Tokyo, Japan. For more info, see https://rise-rc.com/result/ruf-presents-rise-world-series-2023-final-round/.