After 21 months, Filipina Gina Iniong finally gets the homecoming bout that she is longing for.
Iniong will compete in front of the Manila crowd once more when she battles Asha Roka at ONE: ‘Fire & Fury’ on Friday. This will be her first fight on home soil since April 2018, when she took a unanimous decision win over Jenny Huang.
The 30-year-old Baguio City native plans to show how much she missed competing in front of her compatriots.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to compete in my hometown, and in front of my family and friends. I thank ONE Championship for allowing me again to fight here in Manila. This is big for my confidence,” Iniong shared.
“It’s been a while since I last fought here, but I was just patient because I know the time will come and here we are. I am really excited,” she added.
The Team Lakay standout suffered back to back defeats outside of the Philippines, losing to Mei Yamaguchi and Istela Nunes. But she bounced back strongly to score a well deserved a split decision victory over Jihin Radzuan at ONE: ‘Clash of Legends’ in Bangkok last year.
With her experience piling up, Iniong promises that she is a much better fighter today than she was the last time she competed in the country.
“My goal is to be a complete mixed martial artist, and I am making sure to train in all aspects of the game. I want to treat my countrymen by putting on a show for them,” she stated.
“At the same time, it’s been nearly a year since I last competed in mixed martial arts, and that’s why I want a decisive win. I want to push myself further so I can compete for the belt in the future,” Iniong continued.
At the moment, the focus is squarely on Roka and what she presents. The Indian is 4-1 and coming off a loss to two-sport champion Stamp Fairtex last August.
“Right now, the only thing on my mind is beating Asha Roka. That is what I am training for. I will take things one fight at a time. I believe in my abilities and trust in my team. Whatever opportunities come after, I will take it,” Iniong explained.
“Asha Roka is a striker who has very good boxing. I think her weakness may be in her ground game. I think I am a more well-rounded fighter. That is the difference between us.”
Having won her last three bouts in Manila, Iniong is determined to extend the winning streak,
“It’s a different feeling, both mentally and physically every time I compete here and I don’t plan on losing, not in Manila. They can expect the best Gina Iniong that night,” she assured.