Gina Iniong Was Driven To Victory By Special Fans In Manila

Gina Iniong celebrates her win against Asha Roka at ONE FIRE & FURY

Before ONE: FIRE & FURY, Gina “Conviction” Iniong had been out of the Circle for almost a year, but she showed no signs of rust as she dominated Asha “Knockout Queen” Roka last Friday, 31 January.

In front of a raucous crowd at the Mall Of Asia Arena, the top women’s athlete from Team Lakay reminded the world why she is one of the elite atomweights in ONE Championship with a convincing win by unanimous decision.

Roka barely had any chance to show off her dangerous finishing skills as Iniong dumped her onto the mat in every round and overwhelmed her with ground and pound.

“I think my determination to win really showed in this match,” she says.

“It also helped that my opponent was reluctant to put together combinations because she was expecting me to shoot for a takedown. I took advantage of that, and I focused on my grappling.”

Iniong’s strength was no surprise given her other performances in The Home Of Martial Arts – particularly her previous match where she executed a similar strategy to shut down the talented Jihin “Shadowcat” Radzuan.

Plus, the 30-year-old Filipina from Baguio City never has an easy ride during practice sessions in the gym against bigger and stronger male athletes, so tossing “Knockout Queen” across the canvas was no problem by comparison.

“When we train, as I’ve said, I always battle men during sparring and I don’t think I’ve ever taken them down – maybe when they make mistakes, but it doesn’t happen too often,” she says.

“But here, you’ll see in the fight that I was taking her down at will and that’s the effect of my training.”

However, it was not just her intense training regimen that powered “Conviction” to such a dominant victory at ONE: FIRE & FURY.

Among the thousands of fans in the Mall Of Asia Arena were a couple of VIP fans who had never seen her compete before, and she was determined that they would see her hand raised.

“I didn’t want to lose in front of them. This is the first time my father and husband watched live and I couldn’t live with it if I let them down tonight,” she says.

The Philippines' Gina Iniong punches Asha Roka on the ground

The win was Iniong’s second in a row against a highly-regarded opponent and fifth overall in The Home Of Martial Arts, and it puts her in the frame for an even bigger bout when she returns.

“Conviction” has proved beyond doubt that she belongs in the Circle with the best athletes in the women’s atomweight division, and though she is looking forward to her next challenge she remains tight-lipped about who she would like to face next.

“For now, I want to get that rest, get a vacation, and spend time with my husband and family so I can rest and recharge for my next matches,” she says.

Read more: Lito Adiwang Wants Top Opponents After Highlight-Reel Finish

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