FILIPINA MMA fighter Denice Zamboanga embraces her underdog status and hopes to score another huge upset in her road to a world title shot in the ONE Championship.
“I know that she is the toughest opponent of my career so far. Because of that, I’m not going easy on her. I will make sure I am the toughest opponent she will have ever faced in her career, too,” said Zamboanga.
Zamboanga faces experienced former UFC fighter Seo Hee Ham in the first round of the ONE Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix in the all-women ONE: “Empower” show on May 28 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.
“I’ve been preparing hard for this fight. A lot of pain, sweat, tears and blood went into this training camp. I’m in the best shape of my career. Physically, mentally and spiritually, I’m ready for this fight. I’m ready to give it 100 percent, and do anything it takes to win,” she said.
The 24-year-old Zamboanga rose to prominence after scoring a huge unanimous decision upset over former world title challenger Mei Yamaguchi in just her second fight in the ONE Championship cage in 2020. She followed it up with a first round Americana submission win over Watsapinya Kaewkhong in her last fight on Aug. 28, 2020.
“I’ve improved so much over the last few months. I’m far from the last Denice Zamboanga you saw in the Circle. I’m a much better fighter now,” said Zamboanga. “I’ve diversified my game and transformed my style and techniques. I haven’t even stepped into the Circle with her, but I can tell you that Seo Hee Ham has already brought out the best in me.”
The 34-year-old Seo is coming into ONE Championship with the momentum of a six-fight winning streak in Road FC and Rizin Fighting Federation. Her latest win was a split decision over Ayaka Hamasaki to win the Rizin atomweight crown on Dec. 31, 2019.
Zamboanga, the No. 1 rated atomweight, is 8-0, while Seo is 23-8.
The other fights in the ONE Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix are Ukranian Alyona Rassohyna (13-4) against Thai star Stamp Fairtex (5-1) in a rematch, unbeaten Japanese Itsuki Hirata (4-0) versus American Alyse Anderson (5-1) and Chinese striker Meng Bo (17-5) against Brazilian Julie Mazabarba (8-2-1). (EKA)