Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga will make history by being one of the eighteen women to compete in ONE Championship’s first all-female event, ONE: Empower, but she’ll be looking to further her status by winning her quarterfinal match in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix and furthering her quest to challenge division queen “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
It will be easier said than done though, as the single greatest female World Grand Prix in the history of martial arts involves some of the most dangerous atomweights — and here are three of them who could give Zamboanga trouble in the tournament.
#1 Seo “Arale Chan” Hee Ham
The biggest threat to Zamboanga is obviously the closest, as she drew Seo in her first match in the tournament.
It’s certainly one of the toughest match-ups to draw in the quarterfinals given Seo’s veteran savvy and ability to light things up on the feet.
Though she’s making her ONE debut, Seo is easily the most experienced in the eight-woman tournament, having competed all over the world and gone head-to-head with athletes of different styles.
She comes in having won her last six matches, four of which came from TKO, and the last time she experienced a setback was in 2016.
#2 Meng Bo
One person that Zamboanga has been eyeing up even before the Grand Prix started is Chinese powerhouse Meng Bo, who has been unstoppable in The Home Of Martial Arts since she made her debut in 2019.
Come to think of it, they possess similarities: they’re both 3-0 in ONE Championship, they have both destroyed the opponents given to them, and they’re both confident that they can beat Lee if given the chance.
Moreover, they couldn’t contain the tension between them as they exchanged words in the past about how they’d beat each other, should they meet.
Zamboanga has to be careful though, as Meng has 11 finishes in her 17 wins, and she has won her last seven bouts leading up to this Grand Prix.
Fight fans could only hope both of them get past the quarterfinal stage for this to have a shot at happening, as Meng will have to overcome Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat in the first round of the tournament.
#3 Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata
One person that doesn’t get talked about much when referring to the prestigious Grand Prix is Hirata, and that could set up a few surprises.
Though she’s yet to be ranked in the loaded atomweight division, “Strong Heart Fighter” has been as dominant as the other competitors, going four for four in her outings in the organization, with all of her wins not reaching the final bell.
The grappling genius may be the youngest in the tournament, but that doesn’t discount her chances of winning, especially as she has been nothing but dominant since making her ONE debut back in 2019.
Just how much she’s improved on her feet will be the deciding factor if Hirata makes it out of the first round against Alyse “Lil Savage” Anderson, but if she continues to improve on the feet, she’s going to be trouble for anyone.
In the meantime, Catch ONE: Battleground III on August 27 at 8:30 p.m. on One Sports and One Sports+. It will air simultaneously on the ONE Super App.
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