By Jun Ray Navarres
Filipina hard-hitter Denice Zamboanga will have to wait a little bit more before she can return to action after ONE: EMPOWER was pushed back due to the escalating COVID-19 situation in Singapore.
The top atomweight contender was supposed to lock horns with South Korean veteran Seo Hee Ham for her first match on ONE Atomweight Grand Prix last May 28.
Zamboanga was disappointed in the announcement considering that staying focus is difficult in these trying times.
Yet, her desire to win pushed her to continue enhancing her arsenal to be ready when a new schedule is confirmed.
“Of course, I’m human too. I’m just like everybody else. Every day is a struggle to stay motivated, especially when we get canceled fights and postponed events. It’s not easy to deal with,” Zamboanga shared in a recent ONE interview.
“But as a professional, I have to continue training hard. That’s my job. So that when I show up to fight, I can give it my best.”
Zamboanga has already proven herself against other atomweight veterans Jihin Radzuan and Mei Yamaguchi which earned her the no. 1 ranked atomweight fighter, and next in line to challenge reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee in 2020.
However, the fight was called off when Lee announced that she was pregnant, putting Zamboanga into the harder road to title contention.
Regardless being disappointed in the turn of events, Zamboanga also sees the opportunity to prepare further before being locked inside the cage with the division’s top fighters.
“I’m still focused on the goal. It’s not an easy fight. I can tell you that much. Seo Hee Ham is a dangerous opponent,” said Zamboanga.
“Thankfully, I have more time to prepare, to sharpen my skills and really zero in on that game plan. Our strategy is going to be key in this fight. I think every fighter is tough and should not be underestimated. This is MMA, and anything can happen in the cage. It will come down to who is better prepared to claim victory.”
ONE Championship is expected to reveal a new date for the card and any changes soon, as fans eagerly await the Asian promotion’s return to events.
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