Drex Zamboanga, right, strikes a pose with his sister Denice, who is also an MMA fighter. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Drex Zamboanga showed there’s more to fighting than physical attributes.

To lose three straight bouts after an incredible start could prove debilitating for any fighter, especially if the string of setbacks came off a canceled bout that you have trained for.

But as a fighter with great resolve,  Zamboanga remains unwavered through it all.

Zamboanga said he did not treat those losses as such but rather, as an inspiration for him to move forward.

“Those three losses became my motivation for my training and at the same time for my fights and I showed that in my last one because I finished my match early and my performance was a vast improvement,” said Zamboanga in Filipino during a Zoom press conference Wednesday.

“The three losses were what pushed me to improve not only myself but my career as well.”

Zamboanga suffered losses to Yutaka Saito, Gi Bum Moon, and Keita Ishibashi making 2018 a huge dud for him.

What made those setbacks even more painful was Zamboanga was supposed to take on Alexander Volkanovski, who’s now the UFC featherweight champion, in November of 2017.

The 31-year-old eventually bounced back from all those defeats when he stopped Seeing Hyun Cho for the URCC bantamweight belt.

“As an athlete, those losses were actually good for me because I fought in Japan and Korea and against world champions,” said Zamboanga (8-5-0). “That was a learning experience for me. When I realized that my record wasn’t looking that good I was able to study my body better, I was smarter, and I knew that I could win in my next fight.”

Zamboanga, who’s training in Thailand, was supposed to go back to the Philippines after a month’s preparation but his travel plans got derailed after international flights were canceled due to COVID-19.

With no chance to go back home, Zamboanga took his time to train even more and now he’s joining her younger sister Denice in the ONE Championship banner.

He will make his ONE debut against Thailand’s Detchadin Sorsirisuphathin in ONE: A New Breed at Impact Arena on August 28.

Despite being a first-timer, Zamboanga said that he already feels expectations mounting on his shoulders especially since he’s the URCC 135-pound champion.

“As a champion in the URCC, they will expect me a lot from me as a champion and as a Filipino champion,” said Zamboanga.


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