Singapore: ONE Championship™ (ONE) athletes, former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion and current #3-ranked atomweight contender Stamp Fairtex and her opponent, Grand Prix alternate Julie Mezabarba, as well as #4-ranked atomweight contender Ritu Phogat and her opponent, Grand Prix alternate Jenelyn Olsim, spoke to ONE Championship ahead of their semifinal matchups in the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix.
The high-profile tournament headlines ONE: NEXTGEN, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium this Friday, 29 October.
Hosted by ONE commentator, Michael Schiavello, the four athletes went head-to-head in virtual faceoff interviews. Also interviewed was undefeated Canadian heavyweight Dustin Joynson, who is ready to make his promotional debut.
Hear from the athletes before they step inside the Circle to compete.
Stamp Fairtex: She is quite strong, quite tough, and a little bit bigger than me so it’s going to be a tough fight for me. I mastered Muay Thai and I have been practicing it all my life. I will try to knock her out if I can. In my mind I only need a victory. [Julie] wants to knock me out, but she better be careful because she might get knocked out instead.
Julie Mezabarba: My fans can expect a very tough Julie with a lot of blood in her eyes, no playing around. I don’t think the fighting styles make any of us better than the other. I think both of us have our own qualities. To me, it doesn’t matter. A win is a win. I want to win by knockout but a win is a win, whatever way it may come.
Ritu Phogat: Definitely do not underestimate me. I have the power, I have the strength to prove you wrong. Be careful. I was really hoping to fight Hirata. [The matchup] had come through popular public demand. I was prepared for her. Although the matchup with Jenelyn has come at the eleventh hour, I’m confident in my skills, my training, and I know I can take on anyone. It’s not something that shakes me up. I’m untouched by pressure. I don’t allow myself to get intimidated by pressure. I know I’m prepared and I follow the course of my game plan.
Jenelyn Olsim: I believe that wrestling is [Riut’s] biggest asset. I can handle her wrestling, I want to prove I’m not just some alternate. I don’t underestimate Ritu. But I can outstrike her, I also know her biggest strength is wrestling. I’m just not going to let her pin me down. First of all, I am very confident in myself. I trust my training, my coaches, my gym. I think I can beat anyone they give me. I accept every fight they give me. I’m very motivated right now. And focused. I want to win. I believe in the saying never leave it to the judges. I will give everything I have, I will do everything to finish her. It’s either submission or knockout.
Dustin Joynson: Now that we’re on a bigger show, I feel that there’s less pressure on me to try to keep that record going to make it to a big show. I don’t really watch much footage on [my] opponents. I usually get coaches and stuff to kind of watch it for me and come up with game plans. He looks like a strong guy and he’s got a wrestling background so it’s always something to watch out for. I feel like I’m more athletic. The way I move, my agility, I’m fast for a heavyweight. I see myself winning anyway possible. If I see anything I’ll take it… Everyone loves a knockout. So it’ll be a knockout. Highlight reel!
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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