75 Days After Police Arrest, Panchan Rina Relinquishes Her Title and Announces Return to the Sport

Feb 18, 2023
Panchan Rina in tears. Photo: GONG KAKUTOGI
The undefeated kickboxer and model appeared in her first conference since her arrest in December.

Yesterday, on February 17, two and a half months after her arrest for alleged fraud, Panchan Rina, the former 2-division KNOCKOUT world champion, held an official press conference, gave a public apology for the incident, relinquished her championship belt, and announced her return to the ring.

On 5 December 2022, the Hyogo Police arrested her for allegedly defrauding a man of 99,900 yen ($740) with the sale of a limited edition 'THE MATCH 2022' poster with fake signatures of the two superstars, Tenshin and Takeru. On 23 January 2023, she publicly apologized on her YouTube channel and claimed that her aim was to recoup after falling for a 15 million yen ($111,054) investment scam herself. 

Appearing in an all-black outfit beside Mitsuru Miyata, the producer of the KNOCKOUT kickboxing promotion, Panchan Rina tearfully apologized to the victim, Tenshin, Takeru, and the fans. Mitsuru announced that she had relinquished the KNOCKOUT belt. He then cited the request from the police department and informed the press that they would refrain from answering any questions about the arrest at the press conference. He further informed the media that Panchan Rina is returning to the ring in an exhibition bout at KNOCK OUT 2023 SUPER BOUT "BLAZE" on March 5 and is expected to compete in a professional bout again in May or June, depending on her recovery. Panchan Rina stated that she intends to donate the full fight purse of her March exhibition fight.

Escaping the media firestorm post-arrest, Panchan Rina traveled to Bangkok, Thailand, where she trained boxing at Lions Head Boxing Academy, appearing alongside the gym's founder, Coach Jay-R in an Instagram video.

Following the press conference, one of her main sponsors since 2019, Trinity Inc. announced a renewed sponsorship agreement with her, after previously terminating it following the incident.

The responses from the fans on Panchan Rina’s return to the ring have been mixed, with some proclaiming support for her return to redeem herself as a professional fighter, while others critizise the relatively quick return following the arrest and the lack of penalties from KNOCKOUT.