Asha Roka Prepared To Spoil Gina Iniong’s Party In Manila

Indian knockout artist Asha Roka connects with a cross on Stamp Fairtex

Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka knows the odds will be against her when she faces Gina “Conviction” Iniong in a battle of strikers at ONE: FIRE AND FURY, but she is ready to rise to the challenge.

When Roka competes in Manila, Philippines, she expects almost the entire crowd in the Mall Of Asia Arena to be screaming for her Filipina opponent, who is regarded as one of the top women’s atomweights from one of Asia’s best gyms.

However, “Knockout Queen’s” Indian fans will be with her in spirit and she is certain that she has the knockout power to give them something to cheer at home on Friday, 31 January.

“This match will be really exciting and the pressure will be on me because the crowd will be behind her,” Roka says.

“It will be really disappointing for Philippines fans if she loses, while I can make my countrymen proud. Beating her in her hometown will be a huge thing to do.”

This will be the Indian athlete’s second ONE assignment following her debut against Stamp Fairtex at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD last August.

Roka took some valuable lessons from that match-up in Bangkok, and they should help her be more competitive in her return at the end of the month.

“Stamp Fairtex was a strong competitor. I enjoyed the fight against her,” the 21-year-old from Bhopal explains.

“Whoever I fight next in ONE, I will fight with proper technique and a game plan. I will keep my opponent’s strong points in mind when I go for the match.”

That contest saw “Knockout Queen” get dragged past the two-minute mark for the first time in her career. In response to that experience, she has trained to make sure she carries the same threat if she goes into the later rounds again.

That is something she knows she must be prepared for because after studying her upcoming opponent, she admits that there are no obvious gaps in the Team Lakay star’s armor.

“Gina has defeated lots of great fighters. Her overall game is really good. We are studying her game and will try to avoid her strong points,” Roka continues.

“Her ground and standing game are equally strong. I am working on my cardio a lot so that I can perform well against her.”

“Knockout Queen” knows that Iniong’s overall experience in The Home Of Martial Arts will work to her advantage – particularly when it comes to grappling.

While she has worked diligently on her ground game in the run-up to the match-up in Manila, she admits she may not be able to match “Conviction” if the contest hits the mat.

Indian martial artist Asha Roka training ahead of her ONE debut

That is why she says it is imperative for her to stay on her feet so she can do what she does best and throw heavy leather. 

“I will try to avoid takedowns but I am working a lot on my ground game as well,” she states.

“My standing game is great so I would like to fight that way. I will try to stay away from the ground as [my ground game is] weak, while her ground game is strong. I will try to attack her with more punches.”

The Indian national boxing champion’s trump card is the power in her fists. She is undefeated in “the sweet science,” and has scored two of her four mixed martial arts victories by first-round TKO.

Roka is not expecting an easy night or an early finish, but despite Iniong’s wushu background, she believes she will have the edge in the striking exchanges because of the force she generates with her hands. 

“Her punches lack knockout power. I will try to use my punches to attack her chin and put her under pressure,” confirms “Knockout Queen.”

“It is very difficult to predict [how the bout will go] because she is a very strong opponent. I think the match will go to a decision, although I will try my best to take her down with my punches.”

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