Zamboanga embraces underdog status vs dark horse Seo

Published May 19, 2021, 2:50 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Denice Zamboanga (in black) (ONE Championship)

Filipina fighter Denice Zamboanga isn’t fazed with her underdog status against South Korean dark horse Seo Ham ahead of their quarterfinal matchup in ONE women’s atomweight world grand prix on May 28.

Set in a historic all-female event ONE: Empower at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, the bout between Zamboanga and Seo is just one of the four matchups for the inaugural tournament in the women’s atomweight division.

“I know people are looking at me as the underdog in this fight and at Seo Hee Ham as the dark horse. That just fuels my drive to score this upset and make it to the end,” said the undefeated Zamboanga, who holds an 8-0 record.

After spending an intense training camp with Marrok Force, Zamboanga said her team and brother Rex, who also competes in ONE Championship, are confident on how she would fare against the Korean mixed martial arts veteran.

READ: Denice Zamboanga: I’m in the best shape of my career

That said, the 24-year-old Zamboanga remained locked in with her goal in this tournament: to prove the doubters wrong.

“I know she has so many weapons. She has a lot of experience. She’s a very dangerous striker and can attack in so many ways. But whatever she throws, I’ll be ready for it,” said Zamboanga.

“[My team and I] have gone through so many situations. We’ve envisioned every possible way this fight can go. Whatever she decides to do in the Circle, we’ll have something prepared for her.”

Zamboanga, the No. 1 atomweight contender, will face a seasoned MMA fighter in Seo, 34, who is a newcomer to ONE Championship.

The Korean warrior, who holds a 23-8 record, was a former atomweight champion in the Rizin Fighting Federation.

READ: Seo Hee Ham on Zamboanga: This won’t be an easy fight

The ultimate winner of the tournament will be crowned as the first atomweight grand prix champion and earns the chance to face current world atomweight queen Angela Lee.