Angelie “D Explorer” Sabanal is determined to make a definitive statement about her place in the ONE Championship
women’s atomweight division when she makes her promotional return on Saturday, 15 June.
The Filipina is slated to meet Japanese debutant Itsuki “Strong Heart Fighter” Hirata on the preliminary card of ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST
, which takes place at the Baoshan Arena in Shanghai, China.
Sabanal had a dream start to life in ONE, as she silenced the Thailand crowd by defeating Bangkok’s Rika “Tiny Doll” Ishige via unanimous decision at ONE: IRON WILL
in March 2018.
However, she failed to make it two in a row after dropping a decision to Jakarta’s Priscilla Hertati Lumban Gaol at ONE: WARRIOR’S DREAM
in Indonesia last November.
As disappointing as the setback was, “D Explorer” took away some significant lessons from that defeat.
“My loss last November was more of a blessing in disguise because it showed me my weaknesses and the things that I need to work on,” the 29-year-old said.
“I learned a lot after that fight in Jakarta. Now I’m even more dedicated as I want to achieve more in this sport.”
Though it’s been seven months since she last competed in The Home Of Martial Arts, Sabanal has remained busy.
Following her last contest, she returned to the gym and continued to build up her skill set.
“After my match in Jakarta, I was back to training to work on my weaknesses from that bout,” she explained.
“I know that with determination, everything is possible. That is what I will show in China.”
While the Cagayan de Oro City native is confident in her skills, her quest of claiming her second victory under the ONE banner won’t be a walk in the park.
The woman standing in her way is Hirata, a talented grappler who will be making her professional debut in the world's largest martial arts organization.
Sabanal does not know too much about her Japanese opponent, but she knows her adversary would prefer the match to play out on the canvas.
“I don’t know much about her, but I know that she’s very dangerous on the ground,” the Filipina acknowledged.
“That’s why I’m working on all aspects of my game, so I will be ready with whatever she throws at me in our match.
“I want to show that I am improving every time I compete. I started off well, and I know that I can get my winning form back and pick up where I left off. Expect a faster and more well-rounded Angelie Sabanal on June 15.”