Fans and insiders alike can’t wait to see how Angela Lee performs in her long-awaited return to action.
“Unstoppable” took a lengthy hiatus surrounding the birth of her daughter, Ava Marie, but she expects to return in peak form when she defends her belt for the fifth time.
Husband and fellow ONE athlete Bruno Pucci has witnessed the comeback firsthand and also feels certain that Lee will be on point at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – though the process has not always been easy.
“I will not lie – in the beginning, it was a little bit difficult. Especially in the very beginning. Sometimes it’s hard because Ava just wants her mom, and when she sees Angela, she starts to cry, but she has to wait because mommy is training. So I think that was the most challenging in the beginning.
“A lot of times, I wanted to watch the whole training and to be there for Angela, but when Ava was getting tired or hungry, or she was missing Angela, I stepped away to try to get her to nap, or do what I have to do to make sure that she’s okay.
“We have other people from the family around, like Angela’s mom, Christian, and Katie. So it is a kind of tag-team according to the needs. The dynamics have been working great so far.”
Rather than seeing motherhood as a hindrance, Pucci thinks the new responsibility has given the longtime atomweight queen more fuel than ever.
Lee has held the divisional gold since 2016 when she was 19 years old, fending off tough challengers along the way. But with their daughter in mind, “Puccibull” sees a renewed sense of purpose in “Unstoppable.”
“I feel that it is a spark for her fire again. Sometimes you reach the pinnacle of the sport early, and she has been doing that – she’s defended [the World Title] four times already, and this will be the fifth – then it’s doing the same thing over and over and over. So where is the new motivation? You always have to have a reason, ‘Why am I still doing this?’
“I think being a mom and this new reason that she has, it just turned the game for her. I think it just made her even more ready. She’s so excited to show what she’s capable of.”
Bruno Pucci Thinks Angela Lee Can Finish Stamp Fairtex Anywhere
Those concerns are heightened because Stamp has stayed extremely busy, competing nine times since “Unstoppable” was last inside the Circle.
However, Bruno Pucci feels inactivity is only a problem if an athlete is not properly prepared – something that won’t be an issue for his wife.
“I think ring rust can be real or not – it depends on how each fighter lets this affect their mindset. If you take it lightly, like, ‘I’ll just take two years, not a big deal,’ yes, it can be a problem.
“I think for Angela, what helped is a lot of sparring. Sometimes there is no way to take the nerves off aside from doing heavy sparring because the more you do it, the more you know you’re ready. She definitely did so many of those rounds that she’s ready. There’s nothing that can surprise her at this point.”
On the technical side, Lee has spent a lot more years training and competing in mixed martial arts than Stamp, who more recently transitioned from the stand-up disciplines.
The Thai was a ONE Women’s Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Champion, but “Unstoppable” has been immersed in every area of combat since childhood.
With that in mind, Pucci thinks Lee will be a step ahead when it comes to blending the ranges, and that she’ll stop the Fairtex fighter from becoming the first three-sport World Champion in ONE history.
“One thing about Angela is that she has a really high fighting IQ. She has been doing this since she was young. And even though she stopped for these two years, she was mentally engaged watching the events, and now she has come back, she just refined everything else. I think she’s pretty much a complete athlete. I can tell you that everything looks super sharp.
“I believe Angela is going to finish in the first round, and my bet is on submission – but it can be standing up as well.”