June 17, 2024

Filipino atomweight star Denice Zamboanga is primed and ready for what should be the biggest test of her young career thus far.

The 24-year-old Zamboanga is one of eight all-female fighters who will participate in the highly anticipated ONE atomweight world grand Prix.

The first round of the tournament commences at ONE: Empower, which broadcasts live May 28 from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore.

Zamboanga, who is the division’s top ranked contender, is scheduled to face veteran Seo Hee Ham.

The Grand Prix champion will earn the right to challenge reigning ONE women’s atomweight world champion Angela Lee for the world title later this year.

Zamboanga burst onto the scene in December 2019, defeating Malaysian star Jihin Radzuan. She went on to beat two-time former ONE world title challenger Mei Yamaguchi in 2020 in a massive upset, which later earned her the top spot in the divisional rankings.

She followed up that victory a few months later, submitting Watsyapinya Kaewkhong impressively in the first round.

When the tournament was announced, however, and Zamboanga’s first opponent was revealed, many hardcore mixed martial arts fans believed she drew the Grand Prix’s most dangerous entrant in Seo. 

“I know that she is the toughest opponent of my career so far. Because of that, I’m not going easy on her. I will make sure I am the toughest opponent she will have ever faced in her career, too.”

Other first round matches in the world Grand Prix include a battle between South Korea’s Meng Bo and Brazilian newcomer Julie Mezabarba, a showdown between fourth-ranked Stamp Fairtex and third-ranked Alyona Rassohyna, and Itsuki Hirata versus Alyse Anderson. – Harley F. Palangchao