Denice Zamboanga
Denice Zamboanga (ONE Championship)

Undefeated Filipino fighter Denice Zamboanga has been busy working on her finishing blows and knockout power in Bangkok, Thailand ahead of the inaugural ONE Championship world atomweight grand prix.

Holed up training in Thailand under Marrok Force, together with brother Drex, Denice said the upcoming tournament early next year is a “tricky” one since top-caliber athletes are set to clash depending on their respective brackets.

Preparing for different fighting styles, the 23-year-old Filipino is raring to get back in the Circle with more deadly strikes and improved grappling skills.

“Tine-train namin ‘yung striking at kung ano ‘yung mga kulang ko noong mga previous fights,” the younger Zamboanga told the Manila Bulletin. “Pinag-aaralan ko rin yung mga takedowns and grappling tsaka sa [knockout] power ko. Kasi sabi nila, wala raw power.”

Drex, Denice’s training partner and striking mentor, also agreed that his sister should unleash those knockout power.

Read: ‘Mas komportable ako sa bantamweight’: Zamboanga mulls scaling up from flyweight

Out of her five straight wins in the professional rank, Zamboanga has yet to knock out an opponent. Though she scored a technical knockout win over Eun Bi Cho of Korea in URCC by referee stoppage (punches) last September 2018.

In ONE Championship, Zamboanga had two unanimous decision wins since her 2019 debut and a submission victory against Thai foe Watsapinya Kaewkhong in ONE: A New Breed last August.

Read: Sangiao weighs in on possible Iniong-Zamboanga atomweight showdown

This is why Zamboanga is eager to prove that she’s currently the No. 1 contender, and taking down the top atomweights will be a testament to that.

“Siyempre, di’ po mawawala ‘yung [pressure] kasi ‘yung mga tao nag-eexpect. ‘Yung mga ilalagay doon [sa grand prix] mga high level na… so kailangan i-prove ko sa kanila na ako ‘yung No. 1 contender.”

Led by champion Angela Lee, who is currently on a hiatus due to pregnancy, the atomweight division’s Top 5 consists of Zamboanga (No. 1), Meng Bo (No. 2) and Lin Heqin of China (No. 3), Japanese Mei Yamaguchi (No. 4), and Stamp Fairtex of Thailand (No. 5).

Read: Angela Lee to Denice Zamboanga: Earn the belt, ‘you don’t get it free’

Source: Manila Bulletin (