Pinay ONE Championship atomweight Denice Zamboanga is finally coming home to the Philippines.
Zamboanga flew to Thailand before the COVID-19 lockdowns in March 2020, and decided to remain there with older brother Drex and their friend Fritz Biagtan to make sure her training went uninterrupted. She has not been on Philippine soil since.
Now, after nearly two years of being based overseas, Zamboanga is coming home to celebrate the Christmas holidays with her family.
“Actually, I’m going home on December 1st. I’ll be home in December. All three of us, kuya Drex, Fritz [Biagtan], we’ll be flying back to the Philippines to spend Christmas there. I think it’s time,” Zamboanga told ONE Championship in a recent interview.
“I just want to reset and re-energize myself. It’s been so long and I miss my family back home. I miss my mom’s home-cooked meals, all the street food, and all my friends. My older sister is going home too, so it’s going to be a family reunion.”
During her time in Thailand, Zamboanga trained with Thai atomweight sensation and close friend Stamp Fairtex at the Fairtex Training Center in Pattaya, before switching gym affiliations and moving to Bangkok to train at Marrok Force.
“Lycan Queen” also figured in three exciting martial arts contests, notching victories against veteran Mei Yamaguchi and Thai local Watsapinya Kaewkhong. However, she lost to South Korean Seo Hee Ham in a controversial split decision.
Zamboanga also revealed that she was scheduled to fight one more time in December, but believes her would-be opponent declined the showdown.
“Actually I was offered a fight against Alyona Rassohyna on the December 3 card. I agreed to that fight and was getting ready for it, even if I only had a couple of weeks to really prepare for it,” Zamboanga said.
“Honestly, I just wanted to fight again, so that I could get another one in before Christmas. Another win would have been great. But I think Rassohyna turned the fight down. I’m fully recovered from the injuries I incurred during the Seo Hee Ham fight, so I’m cleared to compete.”
Zamboanga, who is the ONE atomweight division’s No. 1-ranked contender, is looking forward to a fruitful 2022.
Reigning ONE women’s atomweight world champion Angela Lee is expected to make her long-awaited return to the Circle next year, and a highly-sought Lee vs. Zamboanga bout could be in the cards.