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ONE Championship: Ritu Phogat insists Stamp Fairtex will be ‘petrified of me’ going into grand prix final

October 30, 2021 GMT

Ritu Phogat has insisted Stamp Fairtex will be running scared after they booked a date in the final of ONE Championship’s atomweight grand prix.

“The Indian Tigress” swept aside the challenge of Jenelyn Olsim (5-3) on Friday night’s NextGen card in Singapore, taking another dominant unanimous decision before Stamp outthought and outfought Julie Mezabarba (9-3-1).

Former wrestling national champion Phogat and Muay Thai specialist Stamp have both quickly risen to prominence since debuting in MMA in 2019, and now hold identical 7-1 records going into December 3′s final showdown, the winner of which will earn a crack at divisional champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee (10-2).

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“I think Stamp is petrified of me,” 27-year-old Phogat said, via translator. “She has seen my outstanding wrestling skills and she will not make the mistake of underestimating me again.

“Nobody should underestimate me, because of all you’ve seen. I’m going to be even more dangerous, I’m going to unleash myself upon my next opponent in my next match.”

The 24-year-old Stamp will be no pushover. The former ONE atomweight Muay Thai and kickboxing champ used all her striking expertise to nullify Mezabarba on the feet, while also showcasing her much-improved takedown defence and ground game.

“I watched her fight very closely,” Phogat said. “So I know what I need to do in the final. I will do my hard work. I will prove to all the world why I deserve the grand prix title.

“Definitely its going to be challenging for me, but I’m ready. I’ve got my game face on. I’m going to prove to everyone I deserve to be here and I’m the best in the atomweight division. I’ll do all it takes to defeat Stamp.”

Phogat had prepared to face Japan’s “Android 18” Itsuki Hirata (5-0), before the 22-year-old withdrew four days before the fight because of illness.

That saw Team Lakay’s Olsim slide in on short notice, having been in Singapore preparing to fight Jihin Radzuan in a tournament alternate bout.

“I didn’t change my plan even though there was a last-minute change of opponent,” Phogat said. “It doesn’t matter who my opponent is, I have prepared for such a long time, and have done so much hard work.

“It wasn’t one of the easiest matches. Jenelyn kept saying she had beaten Bi Nguyen, so I wouldn’t be that big of a task for her. But I showed it’s not easy to pull me down.”

This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia. For more SCMP stories, please download our mobile app, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

Copyright (c) 2021. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.