Lee: Zamboanga yet to prove herself as top atomweight contender
MANILA, Philippines — ONE women’s atomweight champion Angela Lee isn’t convinced that unbeaten Filipino Denice Zamboanga has earned her status as the top-ranked contender for the title.
Lee, who has successfully defended her belt four times since winning it in 2016, believes Zamboanga still needs to validate her standing by beating “top 10” caliber opponents in the division.
“Honestly, even though Denice beat Mei Yamaguchi, I don’t think that alone qualifies her to be the number one contender,” Lee said. “The other girls that she fought were not even ranked. The atomweight division is stacked with at least 10 top talents.”
Zamboanga overcame former title contender Mei Yamaguchi by unanimous decision last February before submitting Watsyapinya Kaewkhong two months ago to improve to 5-0.
After the Yamaguchi bout, ONE founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong made Zamboanga the No. 1 challenger to Lee’s belt.
But Lee thinks the best way for Zamboanga to make a strong statement is to conquer the Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship, which has just been announced by Sityodtong.
Sityodtong’s announcement came shortly after Lee announced her pregnancy, which will keep “The Unstoppable” from competing for the foreseeable future.
“I think that Denice should have to face the top 10 girls first to truly prove herself as the number one contender, and the ONE Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship is the perfect way to do that,” said the 24-year-old Lee.
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