Greek fighter Antonia Prifti made her first bid for gold outside of Europe against K-1 women's Flyweight champion Kana Morimoto. Prifti dominated the heavy-hitting KANA across the three rounds of their title bout, showing off an excellent game plan along with superior speed and boxing to counter the wide-swinging Japanese power puncher. Past the first round, Prifti looked like a total mismatch for KANA, outsizing and outlanding the Japanese fighter to claim the coveted title.
The Panther went undefeated this year, fighting four times under kickboxing rules and once under MMA rules. In her lone MMA outing this year, a rematch against a previous opponent, she defeated fellow kickboxer Hélène Connart by knockout in the first round. Despite fighting at weights as high as 57.5 KG, Prifti seems to have found her place at 52 KG after claiming the K-1 belt.
PHETJEEJAA OR. MEEKUN
The Thai prodigy claimed her spot as a runner up for the award by defeating former pound-for-pound no. 1 fighter Anissa Meksen by a razor close unanimous decision victory in December. Phetjeeja also fought four times under Muay Thai rules this year, finishing all four of her opponents. Prior to fighting Meksen, the Thai fighter had not went to decision since 2020. Despite having a phenomenal win over a top kickboxer in her weightclass, Phetjee Jaa did not compete under kickboxing rules enough to claim the fighter of the year award. Although, the young Thai fighter has looked unstoppable this year and has made visible improvements with every fight, it would be a pleasure to watch Phetjeejaa unify the title against Janet Todd in 2024.
The hard hitting Arina Kobayashi solidified her place in the women's pound-for-pound rankings after winning the RISE Queen Mini Flyweight title against Erika by knockout early in the second round, in her second fight at 49 KG. After a year of being the constant runner up due to the dominance of RISE Atonmweight champion Koyuki Miyazaki, Kobayashi has went undefeated in five fights since her last loss in 2022, with three of those wins being in 2023. With dominant victories over RISE Mini Flyweight champion Erika and Shootboxing Women's Atomweight champion MISAKI, the power punching Kobayashi has solidified herself as a top talent in women's kickboxing.