On 6 December at ONE: MARK OF GREATNESS, Filipina martial arts athlete Denice "The Fairtex Menace" Zamboanga will make her ONE Championship debut when she faces Malaysia's Jihin "Shadow Cat" Radzuan at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Zamboanga has been hard at work, training in Pattaya, Thailand since April, training at the famed Fairtex gym alongside ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Stamp Fairtex.
"The Menace" started her martial arts journey under the tutelage of her brother Drex Zamboanga, a world champion in regional Philippine promotion. Witnessing her brother's growth and success, she decided to follow in his footsteps and become a professional mixed martial artist.
Zamboanga, however, craved better training opportunities, so she decided to follow the recommendation of her friend and fellow ONE athlete, Rome Trinidad, to explore her craft in Thailand.
"I initially learned karate from my brother Drex, but I want to learn more and make my skills world-class, and that made me decide to go and train here in Fairtex. The Fairtex gym produces world champions, and I'm impressed with how their athletes perform on the international stage like Stamp [Fairtex]. I love the type of training and the facilities they offer. I have a lot of female sparring partners, which I had difficulty finding one back home,” she said.
During her time training at Fairtex, Zamboanga developed a special bond with Stamp.
Every moment they spent together in and out of the gym, the 22-year-old Zamboanga has grown to respect her colleague and treats her like a best friend. Zamboanga says it is inspiring to work alongside such a driven athlete in Stamp.
"Stamp is like a sister to me and my best friend. It's like finding your long lost twin. We do the same training program, eat out, and going to the water park. We also share a lot of stories, motivate each other, and do the usual things best friends do for each other. She is humble, hardworking, strong, and I love her determination. That's the quality of a fighter I aspire to be,” she added.
It’s been more than six months since Zamboanga left the Philippines to improve her mixed martial arts skills at Fairtex. With the motivation to become a world-class athlete and a future world champion like Stamp, she is determined to give her all in her debut bout.
"I'm excited to showcase the skills I have been honing here. I want to make my mark in the world of martial arts, and I believe that this huge decision of moving to Thailand and training with the rest of the Fairtex team will help me achieve my goals. I will definitely give my best as my gratitude to my second family,” she concluded.