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Mixed Martial Arts

With opponent change, Denice Zamboanga remains determined to reach her championship goal


Denice Zamboanga knows all too well that she must soldier on, even in the face of heartbreaking news.

“The Menace” was supposed to challenge Stamp Fairtex for the ONE Women’s Atomweight MMA World Championship in the main event of ONE 167 on June 8.

However, her dream of becoming the first Filipina to ever hold a major crown in the sport was put on hold when the Thai superstar withdrew from the bout due to a torn meniscus in her left knee.

For Zamboanga, this blow was particularly devastating as she has been tirelessly pursuing a World Title shot since her victory over Mei Yamaguchi in February 2020.

Despite the detours and obstacles she has faced over the past four years, the 27-year-old Quezon City resident recognizes that she must press forward.

“I am already used to it. We’ve been waiting for this opportunity for so long. Stamp had an injury, which is unfortunate,” she told Tiebreaker Times.

She also acknowledges feeling a sense of sorrow for Stamp as they were once stablemates at the Fairtex Training Center before forging a close friendship.

ONE-Stamp-Fairtex-and-Denice-Zamboanga With opponent change, Denice Zamboanga remains determined to reach her championship goal Mixed Martial Arts News ONE Championship  - philippine sports news

(C) Denice Zamboanga

“There are no positives in this circumstance. Stamp, in particular, is dealing with an injury. It will take her several months, if not a year, to heal. We’ll have to wait another year or so before we can compete for the title again. I do not want to put Stamp under any pressure to recover quickly,” she said.

“I want her to recuperate fully, so that she can perform at her best when she returns to training and fighting.”

Prior to the announcement of Stamp’s injury, Zamboanga revealed that she and her former teammate had a chance to catch up.

#ReadMore  Denice Zamboanga returns to ONE Circle in April

“I had already spoken with her before she publicly announced her injury. I adore her like a sister, and I wish her a speedy recovery,” the T-Rex MMA representative stated.

Fortunately, Zamboanga will still be able to compete at ONE 167, set to take place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

There, she squares off with short-notice opponent Noelle Grandjean in a three-round duel.

Though the path to vying for 26 pounds of gold may seem hazy for now, Zamboanga refuses to relinquish hope that her day will eventually come.

“My goal hasn’t changed. We shall wait for another opportunity to compete for the championship. In God’s perfect time,” she declared.

Written By

Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as Rappler.com, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times, Philboxing.com, MSN.com, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.


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