Singapore, November 27 (ANI): Ritu Phogat believes superior wrestling background will give her an edge against Stamp Fairtex of Thailand in the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship Final on Friday.
Following her incredible victory over the Philippines' Jenelyn Olsim in the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinal last October 29 at ONE: Nextgen, 27-year-old Ritu 'The Indian Tigress' Phogat is now ready to face her ultimate challenge in the prestigious tournament.
The number four ranked atomweight Phogat is scheduled to face former ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion and current No. 2-ranked atomweight contender Stamp Fairtex in the final. The bout will take place at ONE: Winter Warriors in the Singapore Indoor Stadium on December 3.
Phogat plans to leave no stone unturned in preparing for this matchup. "I've been focused on the finals for a very long time and I've trained for countless hours for the past two years. Victory is closer than I can imagine and I plan to grab it with both hands. This match is crucial for my career and India's reputation. India has never had a female MMA champion in the past and now I have the power to change the narrative and place an Indian woman on the global MMA stage. I will try my best to make India proud," said Phogat ahead of the final.
Her opponent, Stamp Fairtex, is widely regarded as the most dangerous striker in the ONE Championship atomweight division.
Sharing her thoughts on how to deal with such an opponent, Ritu said: "Stamp is definitely a formidable opponent but she doesn't have the kind of wrestling experience and background that I have built over the last seven years. I am certain that my superior wrestling background will give me an edge."
"Also, I've been training extensively and pushing through my wins and my losses, and I plan to make 3rd December an extraordinary match in MMA history. My improved striking capability and game plan will be on display for everyone to see inside the circle. I assure you that this match will be the watcher's delight and a dreamer's archetype. Hopefully, I will be spoken about as the first Indian woman to a breakthrough on the global MMA stage," she added.
The importance of the matchup cannot be overstated, which is why Phogat is pushing herself to the limit in her training camp.
"It is always effort over excuses for me. Every match and every opponent comes with a different set of challenges, for which I train hard. When I am at the gym training for 5 or 6 hours, all I am thinking of is sharpening my skills so that I can beat my opponents, no amount of sweat or fatigue can interfere or deter me. I can't sit until I sweat, for me the grind leads to growth. The harder I train, the more fuelled up I am! I feel restless if I haven't trained enough."
ONE: Winter Warriors will broadcast live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Friday. In the main event, ONE Lightweight Kickboxing World Champion Regian Eersel defends the belt against Russian sensation Islam Murtazaev. (ANI)