Zamboanga yields to South Korean foe, falls out of grand prix contention

Published September 3, 2021, 11:21 PM

by Carlo Anolin

Seo Hee Ham (right) celebrates after defeating Denice Zamboanga via split decision (ONE Championship)

Denice Zamboanga suffered the first loss of her career and fell out of the women’s atomweight grand prix contention after bowing down to South Korean veteran Seo Hee Ham via split decision in the historic all-female card of ONE: Empower at the Singapore Indoor Stadium Friday night, Sept. 3.

Zamboanga showcased all sorts of fighting styles against Seo, mixing her counterpunching with a couple of high kicks on the South Korean.

Seo, the former atomweight queen in the Rizin Fighting Federation, however, utilized her range to unleash power punches on the top-ranked Filipina fighter.

The third round proved to be instrumental for Zamboanga after hauling many points with a charging takedown after the injury time, where the Filipina warrior suffered a bloody cut on her right forehead due to an accidental head clash with Seo.

As blood continuously spilled from Zamboanga’s forehead, the Filipina took control of the ground game with a couple of punches but still fell short as Seo earned the nod of the judges heading into the semifinals.

Zamboanga, nicknamed the “Lycan Queen,” also scored a takedown in the second round and tried to lock in a submission but Seo scrambled and escaped the impending danger.

Seo found herself pressed against the wall once again, the same position she was in the first round, as Zamboanga threw quick punches while on continuous clinch.

Referee Mohamad Solaiman called for a break as Zamboanga landed a strong right before the clapper.

Early in the first round, Zamboanga leveled Seo’s power punches with counterstriking before the Filipina pinned the South Korean to the wall.

Zamboanga unpacked quick punches to Seo’s right temple before scoring a late takedown just in time before the round clapper.

Seo improved to a 24-8 record while Zamboanga now has eight wins and one loss.

The loss also meant that a future bout between Zamboanga and current atomweight champion Angela Lee is out of the radar.