Top Filipina atomweight Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga was one of the few Filipino ONE athletes presented with an opportunity to perform inside the circle during these difficult times.
Her response was nothing but spectacular, a quick and flawless victory that surely delighted the thirsting Filipino sports audience.
The undefeated top contender put together an inspiring performance, finishing opponent “Dream Girl” Watsapinya Kaewkhong of Thailand just a little over a minute into the first round of their clash at ONE: A NEW BREED last August 28.
The victory was coming at the heels of two more impressive victories over top-rated opponent Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan and former ONE World Title challenger Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi.
Her two earlier victories propelled the 23-year-old to the #1 contender spot in the ONE Rankings and effectively gave her a shot at the Women’s Atomweight title which currently held by Angela Lee, coincidentally her idol.
Zamboanga isn’t losing sight on this and is feeling the urgency to keep the momentum going on her dream of dethroning Lee.
“Of course, I couldn’t afford to lose this fight. My goal was to get the win and nothing else. said Zamboanga. “Once the world goes back to normal, I think I’m ready to face Angela.”
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Zamboanga showed she is not affected by the dreaded ring rust in her bout with Kaewkhong by establishing her dominance in the striking exchanges early.
When the opportunity to bring the fight to the mat presented itself, she snatched a quick takedown, and then secured side control.
From there, she worked on cranking out an Americana, forcing the tap shortly after.
Looking back on her performance, Zamboanga emphasized her intentions of not losing the fight while giving credit to her game but overmatched opponent.
“She (Watsapinya) had good control, but I think I was just able to overpower her. Of course, I didn’t expect to submit her so easily, by Americana no less. I wanted to strike with her, that’s what I was planning to do. But the submission was there, so I took the chance and I got the win. That’s the important thing.”, she continued.
Under normal conditions, Zamboanga and Lee should have already meet in the ONE circle by now.
The CoViD-19 restrictions imposed by majority of countries that resulted to increased security between national borders, however, have proven difficult for ONE to put together events in Asia.
That left Zamboanga with no other options but to take this somewhat of a tune-up fight in preparation for Lee.
While that is not an ideal position to be in, Zamboanga is quick to point out she wouldn’t mind doing again if the opportunity presents itself.
“If the situation stays like this for some time, and if ONE Championship is giving me the chance to fight again, then I’ll take another fight,” said Zamboanga.
Earlier on the card, Zamboanga’s older brother Drex made his ONE Championship debut a successful one, submitting Thailand’s Detchadin “Detchpool” Sornsirisuphathin in round two.
Denice kept a close eye on the contest throughout, watching from backstage.
“To be honest, I was more on edge watching my brother fight more than I was nervous for mine. That was his ONE Championship debut, so he really needed to win. I’m glad we were both able to win. This night was a milestone in our careers,” Zamboanga concluded.
The Zamboanga siblings currently remain in Bangkok. She hopes to return home to Manila before the year ends.
By: ARMANDO M. BOLISLIS
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