Change of heart: Zamboanga vows to win grand prix, contend for title at right time

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Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga had a change of heart, fixing her eyes on winning the Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix for a title shot instead of asking for reigning champion Angela Lee to vacate the title, and vows to take her title away at the right time.

The unbeaten No. 1 ranked atomweight contender from the Philippines now accepts the challenge laid out by the “Unstoppable” Lee and promises fans she is fully fixated on competing for the world title next year, with subtle shot at the currently inactive titleholder.

“I think that Denice should have to face the top 10 girls first to truly prove herself as the number one contender, and the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship is the perfect way to do that,” said Lee.

Lee, who has held the inaugural atomweight belt since 2016, told media last week that she doesn’t believe Zamboanga had done enough to be qualified as the number one contender to her title.

“I am so pumped for this tournament. I’m looking forward to competing for this ultra prestigious title. This will be the most challenging competition that no female fighter in ONE Championship history has ever faced,” said Zamboanga, seemingly implying Lee hasn’t experienced going through a tournament like the grand prix

“To all the other female fighters who will be competing, it will be an honor to face you all in this tournament. A lot of people want to see me and Angela fight, so I will get the Grand Prix belt and then I’m on to the Atomweight World Title at the end of 2021.”, she continued.

The Grand Prix, similar to the one won by Demetrious Johnson, was revealed by ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong shortly after Lee announced that she and husband Bruno Pucci were expecting their first child, due early next year, making her unavailable to defend her crown.

Although details of the tournament, including dates, venues, and a confirmed list of athletes competing have yet to be officially announced by ONE, Zamboanga, who ranks just behind the champion as the top contender, is expected to be among the eight athletes to take part.

Zamboanga, initially, didn’t take Lee’s comments too well, causing a fiery war of words between the two martial artists in separate interviews with media. Zamboanga would call Lee out on possibly vacating her title, while the latter responded with a strong ‘no,’ imploring Zamboanga to prove herself in the impending tournament instead.

For now, Zamboanga has decided to put calls for Lee to vacate her title on hold.

In a recent ONE Championship worldwide conference call, Sityodtong teased the first round of the Atomweight Grand Prix to commence early next year.

“I anticipate the Atomweight Grand Prix to start in January, and just in time the winner of the Grand Prix will then face Angela Lee when she returns,” Sityodtong told media.

Setting animosity aside, Zamboanga has one last message for Lee, as she begins preparations for the Atomweight Grand Prix in the coming months.

“Take care always and have a safe and happy pregnancy. See you in 2021.” Zamboanga ended.

By Armando M. Bolislis