Denice Zamboanga carried the Philippines on her back in ONE Championship’s closed-door era during the pandemic, emerging as one of the best atomweights in the promotion while also being the most active local athlete during that stretch.
But she’s never had the opportunity to compete in front of her home crowd on the global stage—at least not until now.
Zamboanga finally gets to perform in front of her friends and family when she takes on Lin Heqin at ONE Fight Night 5: De Ridder vs. Malykhin at the Mall of Asia Arena on December 3.
The third-ranked atomweight was the first local fighter announced for ONE Fight Night 5 – the first of two shows in ONE’s return to the Philippines with ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks being the other—and she plans to make the most of it.
“I’m very happy. This is very special for me and for my whole family. It will be my first time to fight here in Manila for ONE, and I’m truly honored to perform and fight in front of my countrymen,” Zamboanga said.
The 25-year-old will have her work cut out for her against Lin, who’s raring to bounce back after a close decision loss to Itsuki Hirata in August and prove that she belongs among the atomweight elite.
Zamboanga is likewise looking to return to winning ways after being outlasted by Seo Hee Ham in March, and she will have the support of her compatriots while on the comeback trail.
“For me, nothing compares to the feeling of hearing the cheers of my fellow Filipinos in Manila,” she said. “That’s why I’ll do my best to make sure their tickets are worth it.”
Zamboanga Parts Ways With Marrok Force
There will be some changes for Zamboanga when she returns to the Philippines, as she won’t be representing Marrok Force anymore.
The Filipina bared that she has parted ways with the Thailand-based gym and will now be training fulltime in the Philippines with her brother Drex Zamboanga.
“I’ve already parted ways with Marrok, but we are really on good terms,” Zamboanga said.
“I’m back in the Philippines and I’m training under my brother’s gym T-Rex MMA. The Menace is back. I’m very thankful for all my years in Marrok, they truly helped me a lot.”
Tickets for ONE Fight Night 5 and ONE 164: Pacio vs. Brooks at the Mall of Asia Arena on December 3 are available at https://smtickets.com/events/view/11439.
Also, catch “Globe Presents ONE Warrior Series Philippines” every Sunday night on GTV, the ONE Super App, and watch.onefc.com. Weekly replays air on Tap Go, ONE Championship Philippines Facebook, and ONE Championship’s official YouTube channel.