Malaysian fans were thrilled when she pulled off a first-round submission the last time she performed in front of them, and she expects to bring them more of the same kind of success when she returns to the Circle in Kuala Lumpur next Friday, 6 December.
The Johor Bahru native will have to overcome an undefeated rising star in the form of the Philippines’ Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga, but she has no doubt she has the well-rounded skills to finish her and end the year on a high.
Ahead of her assignment in her country’s capital city, the 22-year-old reveals her thoughts on her opponent, how her preparations are going, and how she expects to send the crowd at the Axiata Arena home happy.
ONE Championship: How have your preparations to face Denice Zamboanga been going?
Jihin Radzuan: This is my seventh bout in my career, so I think I’m getting used to life as a martial artist (laughs).
Jokes aside, it has been quite an intense training camp because I took the bout on pretty short notice, but luckily, even during the off-season, I’m training in preparation for a bout. Generally, I’m always learning new skills, always sharpening my weaknesses, and so far I’m feeling great.
I think I was destined for this card. So, I’ve just been staying in shape because I knew I was going to get a bout before the end of the year.
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ONE: How are you feeling now that the bout is less than two weeks away?
JR: If I were to rate how I’m feeling, I’d say I’m doing at least eight out of 10.
I do feel a bit up-and-down at times, but it’s the same feeling I get. Sometimes you feel great, sometimes you feel awful. I think every athlete experiences these kinds of feelings ahead of any fight.
ONE: What was your reaction when you knew that Zamboanga was your opponent?
JR: I was happy with the choice. As you can see, she is quite a decent fighter, so, I’ve got no issues going up against someone like her.
I think it is a very even match too, she’s undefeated while I’m protecting my 5-1 record.
ONE: Were you hoping to face someone else – perhaps Stamp Fairtex?
JR: When ONE Championship did that story on me about Stamp Fairtex, I received a lot of reactions from a lot of my fans.
If I did get her, I’d have signed that contract immediately. Perhaps ONE felt that it was too early for Stamp [to face me], so they gave me someone else from Fairtex.
ONE: What do you think of Zamboanga’s style and ability?
JR: I’ve studied her fights recently, and I think she’s kind of a grappler. However, she is a good striker too. She is a tricky opponent.
She has a few fight videos showcasing her striking, while some of the others exhibited her qualities as a grappler. Based on her social media, I can tell that she really loves training BJJ and grappling.
ONE: Do you have any concerns about facing her?
JR: I don’t have any concerns leading up to this match. It’s just the usual ones we face whenever we face someone new.
Right now, I’m just training hard every day and hoping that it pays off.
ONE: How do you think she will fare against a martial artist like yourself?
JR: I believe we will bring out the best of each other. We are both young, skillful, and are aiming for something in our careers. Fans definitely wouldn’t want to miss our fight!
ONE: What kind of match are you preparing for?
JR: I read an article on her saying that she doesn’t see any weaknesses in my striking, and she also thinks that my grappling game is quite impressive.
The one thing which caught my eye is that she said her wrestling is better than mine. That leads me to believe that she would want to make it a ground fight.
ONE: How would you like this match to end?
JR: Of course, I want it to end as fast as possible, but when you get a tough opponent, that might not happen.
My prediction is that I’ll finish this by the second round – either through knockout or submission. One thing is for sure, I don’t want to leave it to the judges’ scorecards.