This contest will match two of the most exciting performers in the women’s atomweight division this Friday, 25 October, in Jakarta, Indonesia, at the top end of the main card.
In particular, Indonesia’s “Thathie” is sure she and her opponent from Myanmar can live up to their billing and fire up the crowd ahead of two World Title bouts at the top of the bill.
“Both of us are talented, so I am certain that this bout is going to be hard and entertaining, which will put all of the audience at the edge of their seats,” she says.
The 31-year-old will arrive at the Istora Senayan on the back of a unanimous decision win against Nou Srey Pov after an all-action, three-round battle in May.
In that bout against a Kun Khmer stylist, it was Lumban Gaol’s grappling that made the difference. Against Bozhena Antoniyar, she expects her opponent to bring some dangerous striking, but the Siam Training Camp representative suggests that she is confident about finding a path to victory in a stand-up battle.
“I realize that she is a great, experienced boxer, so I will have to be careful of her hands,” she says.
“She has been competing for quite some time, but I do think that her weakness may be her kicks. As a wushu practitioner, I can read when she wants to launch a kick.”
Though she has the tools to go to war on her feet, it would be no surprise to see Lumban Gaol show off her ground game, which has developed rapidly since her first win in ONE Championship last January.
Bozhena Antoniyar has prepared for that, with more wrestling practice at Bali MMA, but she has also kept her Muay Thai and boxing sharp to prepare for any eventuality.
Her upcoming opponent may have more than twice the amount of experience in the Circle, but “Toto” is ready to meet her head-on and has a message for her.
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“She is older than me, and has more competition experience, but it doesn’t matter,” the Yangon native says.
“What matters most for me is to defeat her. She has her mission, and so do I. We have to show the audience who is tougher in the ring. Her advantages are speed, agility, and fitness, but she also has weak points. I will put pressure on her.
“I don’t care how much of a superstar you are, how much experience you have, or how good you are at martial arts – it doesn’t matter. What matters most to me is that I must win the match. Therefore, I will say that I will upset you.”
One other element of this encounter that could favor Lumban Gaol is that it will take place in her hometown. Every time she competes there, she enjoys incredible support from her compatriots, who raise the decibel level in the arena to ear-splitting levels.
That is a huge source of encouragement for “Thathie.”
“Performing in Jakarta is an honor for me as I can directly meet with my fans, as well as gaining full support from the hometown audience,” she says.
“Again, competing in Jakarta will always be something that I am looking forward to. It feels great to be able to compete on my turf. I do think that it would be more comfortable for me, because I have my family and friends supporting and cheering for me.
“I will surely perform at my best, and more, for the audience. What I can promise all fans in Jakarta is that I will be at the peak of my performance. If I can set an impressive win in this bout, I hope it would be enough for me to be considered as one of the main competitors in atomweight.”
However, Bozhena Antoniyar insists that coming into hostile territory will not be an issue for her.
“I don’t think about it. If I fill up my mind with those kinds of thoughts, it is the biggest barrier to my victory,” the 24-year-old national boxing champion adds.
“I will try to think about nothing except performing at my best in the ring. There is no pressure for the bout.”
Her thoughts might change, however, when the first bell rings and she has to cope with Lumban Gaol’s offense.
If everything goes according to her plan, you can expect a deafening roar from the Jakarta fans as she does everything in her power to thrill them with a spectacular stoppage.
“Every time I compete, I will try to perform at the best of my capabilities, and I hope that I can compete at a fast pace to create a fast finish,” she adds.