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ONE Fight Night 5: Denice Zamboanga relishes home win, targets pal Stamp Fairtex next

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
ONE Fight Night 5: Denice Zamboanga relishes home win, targets pal Stamp Fairtex next
Denice Zamboanga
ONE Championship

MANILA, Philippines — Denice Zamboanga's victory on Saturday was made a little bit more sweeter as she came out with the win in her first-ever fight in the Philippines under the banner of ONE Championship.

Having spent most of her career in closed-door competitions overseas, Zamboanga welcomed the change of pace with a stadium full of home fans at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.

"First time ko maglaro sa Philippines, especially dito sa ONE Championship. Iba kasi na marinig ko 'yung crowd na Pinoy fans, sobrang overwhelming noon sa akin," said Zamboanga after the match.

She figured in an atomweight contest with China's Lin Heqin and leaned on her improved striking to take a split decision victory to the delight of the home crowd.

The win snapped a two-bout slump for Zamboanga, who was also delighted to have had her loved ones present for the ride this time.

"Siguro lahat ng friends ko [nandito]. Gumising ng maaga para lang manood ng laban ko. My family, nandito silang lahat kasi siguro first time," said the third-ranked atomweight contender.

Still, Zamboanga was zoned in on her quest for another run at the title held by Singapore's Angela Lee.

A former top contender, Zamboanga knows that she will need to work her way up anew for another shot after she was booted out of the ONE women's atomweight World Grand Prix by South Korea's Seo Hee Ham.

And what way to begin than at the very top? Zamboanga called out now No. 1 contender and good pal Stamp Fairtex after her victory over Heqin.

Zamboanga was former stablemates with Stamp and said that it was only logical that beating the top contender will be what get her the title shot.

"'Yun na kasi yung next in line. Gusto kong mabalik 'yung no. 1 rank. 'Yun lang 'yung only way to get back to no. 1, which is kalabanin mo yung no. 1," said Zamboanga.

"Syempre, nothing's personal. Alam naman niya 'yun na mahal na mahal ko si Stamp. 'Yun lang, it's all about business," she continued.

Zamboanga and Fil-Am Muay Thai fighter Jackie Buntan eked out victories for the Philippines in ONE Fight Night 5 while Team Lakay's Eduard Folayang suffered a tough loss in the first of two ONE Championship shows this Saturday.

MMA

ONE CHAMPIONSHIP

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