Denice Zamboanga faces Julie Mezabarba in Bangkok on Saturday. The Filipina will be looking to make it two wins in a row and put herself back in the title mix.

But regardless of the result at ONE Fight Night 9 she promises to show the sort of spirit for which Filipino fighters are famous,

“I think my main advantage will be my heart. We all know that Filipino fighting spirit. We’ll fight till the end, and we won’t allow ourselves to lose.”

She was based at the Fairtex camp in Pattaya for a long time. Zamboanga only left when she and teammate Stamp Fairtex were both invited to compete in the ONE Championship atomweight Grand Prix.

Famous and respected

Zamboanga subsequently moved to Marrok Force in Bangkok and although she is no longer based in Thailand she still has plenty of friends who will come and support her on Saturday,

“This is special because I’ll be back in Thailand. I’ll see a lot of familiar places and friends who are in Thailand who will come out and support me.”

Her fiance has already won a fight at Lumpinee Stadium. Fritz Biagtan scored a late stoppage earlier this year and Zamboanga knows all about the venue’s significance for fighters in Thailand,

“Of course, it’s always an honor competing in one of the most famous and respected stadiums when it comes to combat sports all over the world.”

Raw strength

Mezabarba might be winless in her two ONE Championship outings but she went the distance with both Stamp Fairtex and Jenelyn Olsim, losing out to the latter by split decision. Zamboanga is wary of her opponent’s striking skills,

“If there’s something that I have to watch out for against Julie Mezabarba, it’s her raw strength, her jiu-jitsu, and of course her heavy strikes. I have to look out for those.”

Zamboanga was promised a title shot after winning her first three ONE Championship fights. But she missed out when Angela Lee became pregnant and the promotion decided to organize an atomweight Grand Prix instead.

She still dreams of challenging for the belt and knows a win this weekend could put her withing touching distance of that title shot,

“This is such an important fight for me because I want to hold onto this third spot in the atomweight division, and one day, God willing, I’ll be back there on top and getting a title shot.”