An impressive win for either woman would establish them as one of the top athletes in a division that’s still waiting for its inaugural World Champion.
Vandaryeva has a long history of international success that Buntan cannot match, but the Filipino-American will bring world-class skills into the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
“Winning my ONE debut absolutely added to my confidence as a fighter and as a person,” the Californian says.
“I like to always be confident as an athlete and person, but that win against Wondergirl solidified the fact that I’m a serious contender in the strawweight division.”
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Wondergirl came into the matchup as the favorite thanks to a pair of TKO wins on the global stage, but Buntan was not overawed by her opponent or the occasion.
She quickly grew into the contest and came close to a quick finish with a stunning first-round knockdown. Wondergirl recovered, but she could not stop her rival from running away with the victory on the judges’ scorecards.
That performance made Buntan the favorite against Vandaryeva in many fans’ eyes, and the Boxing Works representative believes she will have a winning game plan in front of a North American audience.
“I believe it will work to my advantage to get in and throw my strikes,” Buntan says.
“She likes to kind of stay stagnant from what I last saw of her and in her fight with Janet [Todd]. I believe my footwork and speed will be the greater factor, so I don’t fall into the trap of rushing into her range.”
With that said, the American does not expect Vandaryeva to be beaten easily at “ONE on TNT IV.”
“Barbie” may be moving up to strawweight after making her ONE debut as an atomweight, but that’s because she appears to be a perfect fit for the weight class.
For starters, she is 8 centimeters taller than Buntan and has proven throughout her career that she owns the speed and power to cause problems for some of the world’s best fighters.
“I never like to underestimate my opponents. I know Ekaterina will come ready to give a fight, so I prepare just the same as I do for every fight,” the Filipino-American says.
“Ekaterina has a greater height and reach advantage over me. She has a good left kick as well.”
Buntan trains at Boxing Works with Todd, the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion, and there could not be a better partner to help her prepare for Vandaryeva.
Along with being the top women’s athlete in ONE Super Series, Todd is the most recent woman to beat “Barbie” and has plenty of advice for her teammate.
With that support from “JT” – and with the skills she showed against Wondergirl – Buntan is certain she has what it takes to add another signature win to her record.
“Janet is always a ton of help,” the Californian says.
“She gave me little instances she remembered from their fight and what she did in those instances. Besides that, it’s just being able to do what I do.”
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