AFTER being sidelined for close to a year, Gina Iniong is eager to return to the cage in 2021 and hopefully earn a crack at the ONE Championship Women’s atomweight title.
Following a unanimous decision win over Asha Roka, Iniong was forced into hiatus because of her pregnancy with partner Richard Araos. Now that she has already given birth, Iniong is ready to get back into fighting form.
“Everything is the same. I want to be the best Gina Iniong in the Circle possible. Nothing has changed for me,” said Iniong. “I can’t wait to get back in the Circle. I’ve missed it. Once I’m cleared to go back to training, and when my body feels right, you can expect to see me alongside your favorite Team Lakay superheroes again.”
Iniong was ranked No. 5 in the atomweight division before taking a leave. She was dropped from the top five and replaced by Stamp Fairtex, who’s been on a tear in the ONE Championship cage.
“My division is really exciting right now. There are so many great talents and I’m so excited for a lot of potential matchups. Any opponent that ONE Championship will give me, I’ll be ready,” said Iniong. “I’m hungry and motivated to re-establish myself at the top. Fans can expect a stronger, wiser and more dangerous Gina Iniong next year.”
Angela Lee (10-2) currently holds the ONE Women’s atomweight belt. However, she’s currently sidelined also because of pregnancy.
ONE Championship plans to hold a Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix, wherein the winner becomes the No. 1 contender in Lee’s return.
Currently ranked No. 1 in the atomweight division is Filipina Denise Zamboanga (8-0), followed by Chinese Meng Bo (15-5) at No. 2, Chinese Lin Heqin (17-2-1) at No. 3, Japanese veteran Mei Yamaguchi (21-11-1) at No. 4 and Fairtex (5-0) at No. 5.
Iniong could earn a spot in that tournament because she’s still considered one of the division’s elite names.
Iniong is a six-time Philippine Wushu champion and a Southeast Asian gold medalist in kickboxing. She has a record of 9-4 in MMA and a spotless 14-0 slate in Wushu.