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Zamboanga ready to hurdle first test in ONE Grand Prix

FILIPINO mixed martial arts fighter Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga is all set to go into battle and prove her worth in ONE Championship’s Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix which begins in Singapore next week.

One of eight finalists in the highly anticipated competition, Ms. Zamboanga’s bid begins against “Arale Chan” Seo Hee Ham of South Korea in the event dubbed ONE: Empower on May 28, the promotion’s first-ever all-women fight offering.

Ms. Zamboanga, 24, the number one-ranked contender in the atomweight division, has been training in Thailand with help from her older brother Drex Zamboanga and her team at Marrok Force as she looks to hurdle the first step in winning the tournament and earn a shot at the title currently held by “The Unstoppable” Angela Lee, who is on the family way.

“My brother, my coaches, and my training partners are all confident in me. They are confident in the hard work we’ve put into this camp, and we’re ready. We’re going in there with the winning mentality,” Ms. Zamboanga (6-0) said.

“It’s not going to be an easy fight for either side. But I’m determined to prove the doubters wrong and claim this victory. I trust in God, and in my hard work. I will win this fight for my friends, family, and fans back in the Philippines,” she added.

Looking to spoil Ms, Zamboanga’s push is ONE-debuting Seo (23-8), who many see as the “darkhorse” to win the tournament.

It is something not lost to Ms. Zamboanga, which is why when the brackets for the grand prix were announced she immediately went to work.

“I know she has so many weapons. She has a lot of experience. She’s a very dangerous striker and can attack in so many ways. But whatever she throws, I’ll be ready for it,” she said.

“Me and my team have gone through so many situations. We’ve envisioned every possible way this fight can go. Whatever she decides to do in the Circle, we’ll have something prepared for her.”

Prior to moving to ONE, Ms. Seo saw action in other top promotions like DEEP, Road FC, Rizin FF, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Other first-round matches in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix are the battle between number two-ranked contender Meng Bo of China and Brazilian newcomer Julie “Juju” Mezabarba; a rematch between number four-ranked Stamp Fairtex of Thailand and number three-ranked Alyona Rassohyna of Ukraine; and Japanese Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata versus American Alyse “Lil’ Savage” Anderson.

ONE: Empower happening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium is headlined by the strawweight world championship clash between champion Xiong Jing Nan of China and challenger Michelle Nicolini of Brazil. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo

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