By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
Senior Reporter

SINGAPORE — The now-closed door event “ONE: King of the Jungle” happens tomorrow at the Singapore Indoor Stadium with two Filipino fighters out to seize opportunities available to them.

Women’s atomweight fighter Denice “The Menace Fairtex” Zamboanga and Kiwi-Filipino bantamweight warrior Mike “Tyson” Fairtex Abelardo are part of the reconfigured ONE Championship event, which is closed off to fans and media upon the advisory of the city-state’s Ministry of Health to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that is now affecting different parts of the world.

Ms. Zamboanga (3-0) is to face off with Japanese veteran Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi while Mr. Belardo takes on “Pretty Boy” Troy Worthen of the United States as they angle to make their way up the in the promotion.

Twenty-three-year-old Ms. Zamboanga said she is using the Yamaguchi fight as a springboard to get a shot at the ONE world women’s atomweight title currently held by long-time Singaporean champion Angela “The Unstoppable” Lee.

Ms. Zamboanga has gotten her mixed martial arts career to a strong start, including making a winning debut in ONE in her last fight in December, beating Malaysian Hayatun Jihin Radzuan by unanimous decision in Kuala Lumpur.

“I believe that this match (Yamaguchi) fight could be a stepping stone to get me closer to a world title shot. If I lose, it would be against a huge contender, and if I win, the rewards could be enormous. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose, and I’m not planning to lose in any way,” Ms. Zamboanga was quoted as saying by the official ONE Championship website in the lead-up to King of the Jungle.

“If I can beat Mei, I will call out Angela Lee,” added the Filipino fighter, who took the Yamaguchi fight with less than a month’s notice.

Despite the short notice, she expressed her readiness and vowed to give her best against Ms. Yamaguchi who she respects as a fighter, more so since the Japanese has fought the likes of champion Ms. Lee and other top fighters in their division.

Meanwhile, Mr. Aberlado (19-6), known for his punching power, hence the “Tyson” moniker, tries to keep his winning momentum in ONE Championship after swinging back to victory in his last fight.

New Zealand-born Ms. Abelardo, whose parents are both Filipinos, beat Chinese Jumayi Ayideng in October after absorbing his first defeat in ONE previously.

Mr. Abelardo said the Ayideng fight, where he put pressure on his opponent throughout the contest, is something he is taking cue from against American Troy Worthen.

“That will definitely be the plan — to keep the pressure on Troy and see if he will break. Maybe he’s been in that kind of position before, maybe not, and whether or not he can last will be the determining factor in the fight,” Mr. Abelardo was quoted as saying by ONE Championship.

Twenty-eighty-year-old Mr. Abelardo stakes his 4-1 record in the promotion against Mr. Worthen (6-0), who is undefeated in two fights in ONE.

“I’ve faced all kinds of fighters throughout my career, whether they’re high-level strikers, wrestlers, grapplers, BJJ black belts, southpaws, everything. I’ve seen it and I will be ready for it all with my game plan. I’m a higher level than he has faced before,” said Mr. Abelardo, who is banking on his experience as he takes on Mr. Worthen.

King of the Jungle, which will still be shown live on ONE’s TV and digital platforms, is bannered by the atomweight kickboxing world championship fight between two-sport ONE world champion Stamp Fairtex of Thailand and Janet “J.T.” Todd of the United States.

Co-main event is the strawweight muay thai world championship clash of Thai champion Sam-A Gaiyanghadao against Australian Rocky Ogden.

Honorio “The Rock” Banario of Team Lakay will also be part of the event as he goes up against Shannon Wiratchai of Thailand in a featherweight battle.