Unbeaten No. 1 ranked atomweight contender Denice “The Menace” Zamboanga of the Philippines has accepted the challenge laid out by reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, and now promises fans that she is fully fixated on competing for the World Title next year.
Lee, who has held the inaugural atomweight belt since 2016, told media last week that she doesn’t believe Zamboanga had done enough to be qualified as the number one contender to her title.
Zamboanga, naturally, didn’t take Lee’s comments too well, and a fiery war of words ensued between the two martial artists in separate interviews with media. Zamboanga would call Lee out on possibly vacating her title, while the latter responded with a strong ‘no,’ imploring Zamboanga to prove herself in the impending tournament instead.
“I think that Denice should have to face the top 10 girls first to truly prove herself as the number one contender, and the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship is the perfect way to do that,” said Lee.
ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong revealed plans to hold the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship, shortly after Lee announced that she and husband Bruno Pucci were expecting their first child together, due early next year.
Although details of the tournament, including dates, venues, and a confirmed list of athletes competing have yet to be officially announced by ONE Championship, Zamboanga, who ranks just behind the champion as the top contender, is expected to be among the eight athletes to take part.
For now, Zamboanga has decided to put calls for Lee to vacate her title on hold, and instead accept Lee’s challenge to compete in the Grand Prix, but not without taking a final shot at the champion.
“I am so pumped for this tournament. I’m looking forward to competing for this ultra prestigious title. This will be the most challenging competition that NO FEMALE FIGHTER in ONE Championship history has ever faced,” said Zamboanga.
“To all the other female fighters who will be competing, it will be an honor to face you all in this tournament. A lot of people want to see me and Angela fight, so I will get the Grand Prix belt and then I’m on to the Atomweight World Title at the end of 2021.”
In a recent ONE Championship worldwide conference call, Sityodtong teased the first round of the Atomweight Grand Prix to commence early next year.
“I anticipate the Atomweight Grand Prix to start in January, and just in time the winner of the Grand Prix will then face Angela Lee when she returns,” Sityodtong told media.
Setting animosity aside, Zamboanga has one last message for Lee, as she begins preparations for the Atomweight Grand Prix in the coming months.
“Take care always and have a safe and happy pregnancy. See you in 2021,” Zamboanga ended.
ONE Championship returns on Friday, 30 October with ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX, broadcast live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore. The blockbuster features four World Title bouts for a total of six compelling martial arts contests.
In the main event, reigning ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang of Myanmar defends his middleweight title against top contender Reinier “The Dutch Knight” de Ridder of The Netherlands.