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Mixed Martial Arts

Denice Zamboanga fires back at Angela Lee: Vacate the belt

Denice Zamboanga was fuming after learning of Angela Lee’s comments asserting Zamboanga did not deserve a crack at the ONE Atomweight World Championship. 

Based on reports, Lee — who has been champion since May 6, 2016 — said that Zamboanga’s only marquee win came against Mei Yamaguchi.

“Honestly, even though Denice beat Mei Yamaguchi, I don’t think that alone qualifies her to be the number one contender,” Lee was caught saying on the record.

“The other girls that she fought were not even ranked. The atomweight division is stacked with at least 10 top talents.”

The 23-year-old Filipina, who is now training with Marrok Force, has been on a tear in ONE Championship.

In her debut, she defeated Jihin Radzuan last December. She took a dominant unanimous decision win over ranked opponent Yamaguchi last February 28. Then in what many viewed as a warm-up fight, Zamboanga demolished Watsapinya Kaewkhong in just three minutes and 33 seconds by way of a kimura.

Because of her impressive outings, Zamboanga, who is 8-0, was ranked as the top atomweight contender by none other than ONE Championship.

“I have proven to the world that I am the number one contender.

“I earned it by beating world-class opponents. I have already faced Mei Yamaguchi, the fighter that almost beat Angela. And in that fight, I firmly believe that Angela was very fortunate to win,” jabbed Zamboanga about the five-round classic that saw Lee eke out a razor-thin unanimous decision win over Yamaguchi last May 18, 2018.

With Lee and husband Bruno Pucci expecting a child, ONE Chairman Chatri Sityodtong announced that a World Atomweight Grand Prix will take place in early 2021. However, there has been no announcement regarding the status of the belt.

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Still, Zamboanga threw her name into the Grand Prix.

For Zamboanga, it should be Lee’s prerogative to vacate the belt and not have it stripped from her.

“Angela is the world champion, so she should do the right thing. Like all great champions, she should give the respect other fighters who are waiting deserve,” declared Zamboanga.

“She should not resist vacating the championship belt since she cannot defend it.”

And when Lee returns, Zamboanga will be waiting for her.

“When she is ready to come back, I will be waiting for her.”

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