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‘I Can’t Just Sit Still And Watch’ – Ham Seo Hee Plans To School Itsuki Hirata, Eyes Angela Lee’s World Title

Nov 9, 2022
Ham Seo Hee vs. Denice Zamboanga - Women's Atomweight MMA - ONE X

Ham Seo Hee doesn’t want to wait around for her shot at the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title. She would rather stay active and let the chips fall where they may.

Many people thought the South Korean’s next match would be for the gold against Angela Lee, but instead, “Hamzzang” will face Japanese rising star Itsuki Hirata at ONE 163: Akimoto vs. Petchtanong on Saturday, November 19.

Following her second consecutive win over #3-ranked atomweight contender Denice Zamboanga at ONE X this past March, Ham secured a crack at the longtime divisional queen.

But when Lee moved up to challenge for the ONE Women’s Strawweight World Championship in September, the South Korean veteran opted for another fight.

Ham said:

“Although [I expected] my next opponent to be Angela Lee, my main intention was to have a match, so it didn’t matter to me that my next opponent was Itsuki or someone else.

“Getting that ONE Championship World Title is really such a dream for me, but while I was taking a break, Angela Lee was participating in matches. So I can’t just sit still and watch, while she continues to take on opponents. I don’t want to fall short of that Circle experience. I want to make sure I’m doing my best to get those wins and do what I love, get that action, and train for it.”

Ham, the #2-ranked contender, is a multiple-time Asian MMA Champion who finds herself on an eight-fight winning streak. With those accolades and that type of momentum, she could have easily waited for Lee to get back to business in the atomweight division.

Though some critics view her willingness to face Hirata as an unnecessary risk, “Hamzzang” does not share that perspective.

She said: 

“To me, of course being a titleholder in ONE Championship is of great importance, but participating in a match is equally important to me. So even though many people tell me that there is more to lose in this match, that’s not how I perceive it. 

“I believe there is a learning point to every match. So regardless of any match with any athlete, I don’t believe there is anything to lose. Every match is an opportunity to take more than I give.”

Ham Seo Hee Thinks ‘Greedy’ Itsuki Hirata Is Rushed By Her Ambition

Itsuki Hirata has set her sights on the atomweight elite, but Ham Seo Hee thinks she might be getting ahead of herself.

The South Korean’s 25-8 professional record dwarfs her rival’s 6-1 slate, and “Hamzzang” believes the Japanese phenom should focus on perfecting her craft instead of rushing the process.

She said:

“I feel that she thinks it’s easy to get into the rankings, even when there are so many great athletes currently in those positions. So, to me, it seems like she’s being greedy and aiming too high.

“Every athlete has a learning curve. To compare us two, I am a veteran and she is an athlete with many milestones ahead of her, since comparatively she lacks the experience. I feel that she will learn more skills and a mindset that she can apply against greater opponents if she were to learn things slowly, from the bottom up.”

Still, “Hamzzang” is not one to turn down a fight, and she’ll head into the Circle against Hirata with a very clear objective.

The South Korean striker knows that every win moves her closer to the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title, so she’s preparing hard to take out the judoka and solidify her claim as the division’s next challenger.

She said:

“The moment I signed with ONE, there was only one goal – to be able to wear the ONE Championship belt around my waist and own it. So to progress towards that and achieve it would be the optimal outcome [from this match].”

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