MANILKA -- Denice Zamboanga knew she can't afford to drop her bout against “Dream Girl” Watsapinya Kaewkhong else she risks her title shot against ONE atomweight champion Angela Lee.
Thus, she had to clinically dispose of Kaewkhong last week to affirm her status as the title contender.
"Of course, I couldn’t afford to lose that fight. My goal was to get the win and nothing else,” said Zamboanga, the number one contender for Lee’s atomweight belt following impressive victories over top-rated opponent Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan and former ONE world title challenger Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi.
But due to COVID-19 restrictions, Zamboanga was left with no other option but to take a tune-up fight in preparation for Lee.
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“Once the world goes back to normal, I think I’m ready to face Angela. She’s my idol," said the Thailand-based Zamboanga.
"But if the situation stays like this for some time, and if ONE Championship is giving me the chance to fight again, then I’ll take another fight.”
Zamboanga admitted she did not expect a clinical win over Kaekhong.
The Filipina, who is more adept in ground fighting, even engaged the Thai in a brief striking match before eventually taking the bout to the ground.
There she found an opening that led to her first-round submission win over Kaewkhong.
“I didn’t expect to submit her so easily, by Americana no less. I wanted to strike with her, that’s what I was planning to do. But the submission was there, so I took the chance and I got the win. That’s the important thing,” she said.