MANILA -- Most fans and analysts believe South Korean veteran Seo Hee Ham holds the upper hand against top-ranked contender Denice
Zamboanga in their face-off in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
It will only be Seo's first appearance in ONE, but she is already considered as one of the most feared fighters in the division for more than a decade, having defeated opponents in DEEP, Jewels, Road FC, Rizin FF, and the UFC.
But Zamboanga's head coach at Marrok Force in Bangkok said fans are in for a surprise once the Filipina tangles with Seo next week in ONE: Empower
“I’ve been working with Denice everyday and she is so hungry and motivated to win this fight. I can feel the excitement and confidence in her. This is a great fight and I believe fans will be very happy to watch it,” said William Aranguiz, MMA director at Marrok Force in Bangkok.
“We developed a very robust training camp for her, designed with everything she needs to beat Seo Hee Ham. Our entire coaching staff has complete confidence that she will defeat Seo and move on to the next round.”
Aranguiz is a former Chilean mixed martial arts fighter who now guides the talent at Marrok Force, including Zamboanga and her older brother, fellow ONE Championship talent, Drex.
Aranguiz said they immediately went to work when Zamboanga's bout against Seo was announced a while back. Now they are ready to see the fruits of their labor and take out a highly regarded foe.
“It was a long and hard 12 weeks of training since we got that call to face the Korean, and Denice has made huge strides as a martial artist. I’m personally excited to witness it all come together on fight night,” he said.
“Denice is just a different fighter right now. We’ve really transformed her into an absolute beast. She is much more controlled now, and we’ve tightened up her game a lot. Her boxing and wrestling have improved tremendously.”
Aranguiz understands why fans are picking Seo to win. Seo does have more experience than Zamboanga, and is a proven talent.
But the Chilean coach feels fans will be surprised with how Zamboanga will be able to handle the South Korean puncher, with all the tools they have worked on in camp.
“I know a lot of fans are saying Seo Hee Ham is the favorite to win this, but we feel differently,” Aranguiz said.
“I just don’t see Denice as being the underdog. I know Denice doesn’t feel that way either. Denice is one of the best fighters in the world in the atomweight division, bar none. And now is her time to shine. She is the number one contender for a reason.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES