A title fight between Angela Lee and Denice Zamboanga was in the works until the champion fell pregnant. The Filipina found herself competing in the atomweight Grand Prix instead and was controversially eliminated by Seo Hee Ham.

Fans in the Philippines feel that Lee should have stepped aside to let Zamboanga fight for the vacant title. Instead she decided to hang onto the belt, waiting over two years to defend it.

This Saturday at ONE: ‘X’ she will make her comeback. Lee faces Stamp Fairtex in the main event with Zamboanga rematching Ham on the same card.

It sounds like Lee is expecting to win and she says that she wants Zamboanga next,

“I can’t wait to fight Denice. I hope she wins so I can fight her,” she told reporters at the ONE: ‘X’ press conference.

Angela Lee poses with the newly minted belt at the ONE: 'X' press conference

Next fight

It sounds like the fight between Zamboanga and Ham could be a title eliminator and Lee confirmed she would be open to the possibility of fighting the Korean too,

“I can’t wait to fight Seo Hee Ham as well, so either way it works out for me,” she said.

Lee has made it pretty clear that she wasn’t too impressed with the performance of either Zamboanga or Ham in their first fight. But she stopped short of offering an actual prediction for the rematch,

“I’m glad they’re running that fight back again. It should be interesting. It’s hard to say what the outcome will be. We’ll have to see who shows up that day.”

Angela Lee, Chatri Sityodtong and Stamp Fairtex at the ONE: 'X' press conference

No tune ups

We haven’t seen Lee fight since 2019, she has given birth to a baby girl during that time and her daughter has made the long journey from Hawaii to Singapore with her. She comes into this fight with a lot of commitments and under a huge amount of pressure.

For a fighter of Lee’s status there are no tune up bouts. She is coming off a two year layoff to headline the biggest card in ONE Championship history and admits to feeling the ‘weight’ of expectation,

“It’s a huge honour and also a lot of pressure. There’s a lot of weight on my shoulders as it is, having the time off. But I’m definitely going to make up for that and make sure I put on a great performance on Saturday night.”

As a result many, including ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong, have labelled her the underdog. It is an unfamiliar state of affairs for Lee who has never lost a fight at atomweight but she is relishing the opportunity to prove people wrong,

“Everyone has their opinions (and) it doesn’t bother me too much. I can’t wait to prove people wrong, you know?”