Angela Lee announced her retirement this morning. The reigning ONE Championship atomweight queen has decided to walk away from the sport at the age of 27.

She had been widely expected to retire but with Stamp Fairtex and Seo Hee Ham about to fight for the interim title many fans wondered if Lee would announce she was going to fight the winner. In an emotional speech the champion laid her belt down in the cage and told the fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium her career was over.

Her younger sister, Victoria Lee, who was also fighting for ONE Championship committed suicide last year. Angela subsequently admitted that she had also attempted to take her own life in 2017.

New direction

After her sister’s death Lee decided to set up a non profit organization called Fightstory. It is a non profit organization that aims ‘to inspire, heal and unite the world through the stories, struggles and triumphs of fighters from all walks of life.’

Lee fought 14 times for ONE Championship and eight of those were title matches.

“The last thing I want to say is this. The greatest battle you will ever face won’t be with an opponent standing in front of (you). the greatest battle will be with yourself. We all struggle and fight but each day we are victorious (because) we choose to rise up in the face of adversity.”

Early start

Lee was just 17 when she signed with ONE Championship. She would go on to watch her younger brother and sister, Christian Lee and Victoria Lee, fight for the promotion, marry another fighter on the roster, Bruno Pucci, and have a child with him.

Her father is from Singapore while her mother hails from Korea and she has proved extremely popular in the latter country with seven of her fights taking place there. It is fitting that Lee got to announce her retirement in the stadium where she was first crowned a champion.

In 2017 Lee beat Mei Yamaguchi by decision at the Singapore Indoor Stadium to become the inaugural ONE Championship atomweight champion. At the time of her retirement she was the only ever fighter to hold that belt.

With Stamp Fairtex set to face Seo Hee Ham in the main event of ONE Fight Night 14 a new champion will be crowned imminently. It is the end of the Angela Lee era and the finish of an incredible career.