July 22, 2024

World champion Junna Tsukii retires from karate, sets sights on mixed martial arts

World champion Junna Tsukii retires from karate, sets sights on mixed martial arts
An accomplished karateka, Junna Tsukii will now try his luck in the world of mix martial arts | Photo C: Junna Tsukii official Instagram account

Goodbye karate, hello mixed martial arts. 

Filipino-Japanese world champion Junna Tsukii announced her retirement from karate and will start a new career in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), she told on a social media post on Thursday, June 13. 



Tsukii extended her gratitude to everyone who supported her 26-year career in the karate world, with notable achievements including being the first Filipina gold medalist in the World Games and conquering the 2019 SEA Games.


“Thank you for your continued warm support. I have decided to retire from my 26 years of karate as an active athlete and switch to mixed martial arts,” the 32-year-old said.

“The stage will change, but I will continue to challenge myself with all my might so that I can continue to excite everyone, so I hope you will continue to support me warmly.”

The Filipino-Japanese settled for a silver medal in a controversial finish of the women’s 50kg kumite gold medal match against Malaysia’s C. Shahmalarani in the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia.


After their tightly fought battle ended in a 3-3 draw, three of the five judges voted in favor of Shahmalarani, resulting in her winning the gold medal and relegating Tsukii to a silver.

[ALSO READ: Junna Tsukii doesn't hide disappointment over 'unacceptable' judges in SEA Games karate]

At the 19th Asian Games, she then bowed out of competition in the round of 16, dropping a 3-2 decision over Srey Phea Chonn of Cambodia in the women’s 51kg kumite event.


The 32-year-old karateka also looked back on her career as she is welcoming the opportunity to “start a new challenge.”


 “I want to put what I learned so desperately while traveling around the world to better use in my life. I want to have more fun with everyone,” 


 “More than anything, I don't think it's right to give up on the challenges of my life just because of my age or what society thinks. Of course, there are many conflicts, but I believe there is a story that only I can write, so I will continue to forge ahead.” 


 Tsukii is expected to make her MMA debut against fellow newbie Ruka Sakamoto on August 31.

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