MANILA, Philippines -- The brother and sister tandem of Drex and Denice Zamboanga are hopeful that they can return home to the Philippines in time for the Christmas holidays.
The two are coming off impressive victories at ONE: A New Breed a couple of weeks ago, and they are still in Bangkok, Thailand where they are riding out the COVID-19 pandemic.
The siblings traveled to Thailand earlier in the year to train at various gyms, but when national borders closed due to the pandemic, they found themselves stuck.
Nevertheless, the 31-year-old Drex said they are doing well and that it's business as usual for them after a successful event.
"We're all doing great here," he said. "We've had one full week of rest now, and it's almost time to get back to our daily training routine. Time to get back to work."
Zamboanga revealed that he and his sister are currently working on acquiring their extended visitor permit in Thailand, so they can continue training in the country. Nonetheless, they plan on returning home to the Philippines as soon as border restrictions are eased -- hopefully, before the end of the year.
"Right now, we're working on our long term visas so that in the future, we won't have any issues going in and out of Thailand," he said.
"The plan is to go back to the Philippines before December to celebrate Christmas with our family and to continue training with our boxing coach there. We can't wait to spend time with our family, maybe go on a little vacation," he added.
While their prolonged separation from their family has been difficult, Zamboanga said it only adds to the motivation that he and his sister feel every time they compete.
"It has been hard being away from home. But I used that sadness to motivate me to continue training here in Thailand. Me and my sister dream of becoming world champions. This has fueled our drive to continue working hard," he said.
Denice, the No. 1 contender for the ONE Championship women's atomweight title, showed her class in a first round submission victory over Thailand's Watsapinya "Dream Girl" Kaewkhong.
Drex, meanwhile, also secured a submission win over Detchadin Sorsirisuphathin in his debut for ONE Championship.