MANILA – With the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic forcing travel restrictions in Bangkok, mixed martial arts fighter Denice Zamboanga has to stay in the Thai capital for now while continuing her training.
However, this opened a chance for her to make an in-cage return to One Championship as the promotion has begun returning to action in Bangkok in a bubble of sorts.
“I just want to stay ready, because anytime, I can get called up to compete now that One Championship is hosting events here in Thailand,” Zamboanga, currently the top ranked women’s atomweight fighter at One, said. “I’m just waiting for that call from One Championship. [I] need to stay as sharp as possible, because the world title shot is just around the corner.”
A One fight card is scheduled on Friday, while three more are set to take place on Aug. 28, Sept. 11 and Sept. 18.
All events will be held behind closed doors at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
She, her brother Drex, the current bantamweight champion of the Universal Reality Combat Championship, and friend Fritz Biagtan have been training together in Bangkok as of the moment.
“I’m very lucky because I can still do what I love to do,” Zamboanga said.
However, Zamboanga admitted that she just left the Fairtex team and is now doing her own ventures.
Despite the departure, Zamboanga insisted it was amicable.
“Even though I am no longer with Fairtex, [Nong] Stamp, Nat [Nutchakamon], Noelle [Grandjean], all my teammates, and Coach DJ [Jackson] are all still my friends,” she further said. “I don’t think that bond can be broken.”
While waiting for her return to the so-called “Circle” of One, Zamboanga also longs for the day she and her team can return to the Philippines amid the pandemic.
“Hopefully before this year ends, and Thailand opens its airports, and I can fly back, I can go home to the Philippines. Right now the situation is really complicated. I really miss home,” said Zamboanga, who resides in Las Pinas. “This is all just a big test, but one test that everyone can get through. I just want to say, stay strong everyone. God has a plan and we just have to have faith.” Ivan Stewart Saldajeno / PNA – northboundasia.com