The martial arts community is paying close attention to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix – especially the division’s reigning queen and her younger sister.
ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee has a vested interest in the tournament because she will defend her gold against the winner later this year.
And while the quarterfinals haven’t kicked off yet, the titleholder has already been hearing from some of her potential challengers. Top-ranked contender Denice “Lycan Queen” Zamboanga and #2-ranked Meng Bo have been the most vocal about winning the eight-woman bracket and dethroning the Singaporean-American.
Zamboanga has engaged in a well-documented war of words with Lee over the past year, while Meng began to take aim at Lee this past January.
“Angela is no match for me. If she wasn’t the World Champion, she wouldn’t be on my radar,” the Chinese knockout artist said. “I don’t know how she’s been the Atomweight World Champion for so long. If ONE Championship had given me a World Title shot earlier, I would have beaten her already.”
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“Unstoppable” has heard the chatter, but she isn’t getting too worked up about it.
“It really doesn’t matter to me, honestly,” Lee says.
“I really don’t care what Denice or Meng Bo has to say. I think they are just trying to stir up some drama just to make things more interesting, and I’m not about that. So I am just focusing on me, focusing on getting back, and, you know, I’ll be ready for whoever becomes the Grand Prix Champion.”
Although Zamboanga and Meng are the division’s top two contenders, some observers – including the atomweight queen’s little sister, Victoria “The Prodigy” Lee – view someone else as the tournament favorite.
That someone is “Arale Chan” Seo Hee Ham, a ONE Championship newcomer who holds the #5 spot in the divisional rankings. The South Korean star is a lethal striker who’s riding a six-fight winning streak and claimed championships in some of Asia’s leading mixed martial arts promotions.
For those reasons, the teenage prodigy believes “Arale Chan” will win the Grand Prix and earn the next shot at “Unstoppable.”
“The person who I see coming out on top is Seo Hee Ham,” Victoria says. “I think she’s got the most experience, and I do think she’s going to come out on top and face my sister.”
In any case, two things are for sure: The Lees are excited for the tournament to commence, and they don’t plan on getting caught up in the “drama.”