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The verbal tussle between Reigning ONE World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee and top contender Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga is far from over.
The champion from Singapore just fired another disrespecting shot at the challenger from the Philippines, at the expense of questioning the validity and integrity of the ONE Official Rankings that establishes Zamboanga a position for a first crack at her title.
“Denice is the so-called number one contender.” Lee said in a video interview with ONE Championship.
For the record, ONE named Zamboanga the No. 1 contender for the Women’s Atomweight World crown.
Zamboanga is scheduled to compete in next month’s ONE: EMPOWER, an all-women’s event on September 3. She will be taking on dangerous veteran Seo Hee Ham of South Korea in the quarterfinal round of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
The tournament features eight of the world’s best atomweights all vying for a spot to become the #1 contender to Lee’s atomweight throne. Lee is expected to face the winner of the tournament.
Lee went on to compliment a newcomer than her primary challenger.
“Seo Hee Ham is a great new addition to the ONE Championship roster and she comes with a lot of experience.” Lee continued.
Seo is a well-respected veteran coming into ONE Championship. Many feel the South Korean fighter is the dark horse to win the entire tournament. Lee is inclined to share this sentiment, but also cautions against underestimating Zamboanga’s capabilities.
“I’m very excited to see Seo Hee Ham when she makes her debut in ONE. She’s definitely one of the most experienced fighters in the tournament. She’s definitely one that I’m going to be keeping my eye out for. I’m very excited to see how she matches up with Denice. That match is going to set the tone for the rest of the tournament,” Lee said.
“I would give the advantage to Seo Hee Ham because of her experience. But with that being said, at the end of the day, it is a fight. You don’t count anybody out.”
Zanboanga and Lee figured in a heated back-and-forth through the media last year.
Zamboanga was was already pencilled in for a shot at the belt when CEO Chatri Sityodtong verbally announced the Filipina as next in line to challenge for Lee’s title.
When Lee announced she had to take a long break due her impending pregnancy, Zamboanga asked her to vacate her world title in anticipation of the long lull on transferring possession of the belt.
The demand probably hit a nerve of the champion on her being asked to drop the title without being given a chance to defend it inside the ring, thus the back-and-forth verbal spat.
As she puts in the work at the family gym in Hawaii, “Unstoppable” firmly believes she’s the champion until she isn’t. And the only way to take the belt from her is by beating her in the Circle.
After having already given birth to daughter Ava Marie a few months ago, Lee is already on the comeback trail. At moment, the 25-year-old superstar is more than willing to remind fans who reigns supreme.
“This is my division and I’ve been champion of this division since 2016. Every opponent, every contender, I’ve put them away. I think it’s been a little while since I’ve been in the cage. Maybe people forgot, but definitely I’m here to stay and I’m very excited to get back in the cage.” Lee continued.
She feels the No. 1 contender had been talking smack without really proving her worth.
“There’s been a lot of back-and-forth talk, and I’ve seen a few of [Zamboanga’s] interviews. Honestly, I just feel like she is coming off as a little bit entitled. She’s telling everyone that she was the number one contender. Really, that’s because she beat Mei [Yamaguchi]. But honestly, besides that, she hasn’t beaten anyone,” Lee concluded.
ONE: EMPOWER is a historic all-women’s fight card scheduled to broadcast live.
Filipina-American Jackie Buntan is back to take on Daniela Lopez of Argentina in a Women’s strawweight Muay Thai contest while Jenelyn Olsim could be in a quick return in The Circle against American Grace Cleveland depending on the result of her bout on August 27.
ONE Women’s Strawweight World Champion “The Panda” Xiong Jing Nan defends her title against Michelle Nicolini in the main event.
Kickboxing superstar Anissa Meksen, who faces Cristina Morales in a ONE Super Series contest, makes her ONE debut.
By Armando M. Bolislis