Denice Zamboanga has never experienced competing at the Mall of Asia Arena as she made her ONE Championship debut during the closed-doors era of the COVID pandemic.
Still, she made the most of it, rising to the number one spot in the atomweight rankings before hitting a wall, losing twice to Ham Seo Hee.
Now ranked third in the division, Zamboanga was ecstatic to learn that ONE will be returning to the Philippines this December after more than two years because it finally gives her the chance to compete in front of her friends and family.
“I’m really excited that there will be another event in the Philippines, especially now that we’re going back to how it was before the pandemic,” Zamboanga said.
“I’m really happy that ONE Championship will be back in the country after more than two years.”
There’s still no word on whether Zamboanga will be part of the card or not, or when she’ll be returning to the Circle in general, but what is confirmed is the massive main event for the ONE 164 card.
The show will be headlined by the long-awaited showdown between ONE strawweight world champion Joshua “The Passion” Pacio and top-ranked contender Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks.
Pacio has seemingly done it all in the division. He holds the records for most wins at strawweight (9), most world title fights in the division (7), and most number of world title wins in the division (5).
No other Filipino has won more than three world title bouts, with Brandon Vera and Eduard Folayang tied at second.
Brooks, on the other hand, has virtually run through everyone in the weight class, starting with Pacio’s teammate, Lito Adiwang, and other contenders such Hiroba Minowa and Bokang Masunyane.
Zamboanga expects this fight to be Pacio’s toughest test, although she will be cheering hard for her compatriot.
“This fight will surely be an amazing one,” Zamboanga said.
“This will be an intense match for sure, and this could be the biggest challenge for our world champion, but I’m rooting for him to win.”