MANILA, Philippines — Denice Zamboanga has her eyes on the ultimate prize.
Zamboanga is set for a showdown with Mei Yamaguchi of Japan in ONE: King of the Jungle on Friday at Singapore Indoor Stadium in a fight the Filipino sees as her golden opportunity for a title shot against reigning atomweight champion Angela Lee.
“I believe that this match could be a stepping stone to get me closer to a world title shot,” Zamboanga said. “If I lose, it would be against a huge contender, and if I win, the rewards could be enormous. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose, and I’m not planning to lose in any way.”
“If I can beat Mei, I will call out Angela Lee.”
Zamboanga has a potential championship clash with Lee in mind, but she is fully aware that she can’t afford to look too far ahead, knowing the caliber of a fighter Yamaguchi is.
The 37-year-old Yamaguchi has been a contender in the division for a long time, having challenged Lee for the strap twice.
Yamaguchi (21-11) has also been a tear as of late, riding on a four-fight streak.
“She’s really good on the ground, and her wrestling is superb. I need to maintain my distance and really assert my striking so that I can show a different side of my skills to everyone. I wasn’t really satisfied with my last performance, so I want to make up for it this time around,” said the 23-year-old Zamboanga.
Despite the threat that Yamaguchi presents, Zamboanga believes she has what it takes to get through.
“I think I have the advantage in striking and my takedown defense is good,” Zamboanga said.
“I think my reach will be an advantage, and I think I can also take her down. I think I will be able to defend her grappling and maintain control on top if we’re on the ground, just like what I did against Jihin.”
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