11 March 17 The Straits Times by CHUA SIANG YEE
A 10-month hiatus from the arena is hardly the best way to prepare for your first title defence, but try telling that to One Championship atomweight champion Angela Lee.
The 20-year-old will step into the ring for the first time since clinching the championship belt last May, but she is anything but daunted.
In her way is Jenny Huang of Chinese Taipei. The 26-year-old Huang's last fight was in December, when she executed the rarely-seen gogoplata move, a kind of choke using the shin, to win.
Their bout will anchor today's mixed martial arts event, One: Warrior Kingdom, held at the Impact Arena in Bangkok.
Lee told The Straits Times yesterday: "I know that all of my training will pay off and my hand will be raised again. I will flawlessly execute my game plan and there is absolutely nothing Jenny will be able to do about it."
To her fans, Lee said: "Make sure to tune in... you're not going to want to miss this."
THE ONE WHO WILL WIN
I know that all of my training will pay off and my hand will be raised again.
ANGELA LEE, One Championship atomweight champion, predicting that she will retain her belt.
Both fighters head into the clash with perfect records. Lee is undefeated in six bouts, Huang in five.
While all but one of Lee's fights ended in early submissions, Huang, who submitted her last three opponents, is no slouch in that department.
The challenger's background in kickboxing and wushu also hints at a strong striking game, which means Lee will have her hands full in her bid to retain the belt.
But the Hawaii resident, who has been training six days a week leading up to the fight, said: "She has quite an unorthodox style but I see many holes in her game and I'll be looking to expose them."
Usually guarded about her strategy, Lee, who is of Singaporean and Korean descent, did not elaborate on Huang's weaknesses.
However, the pressure is on her to prove she is still at the top of her game after a long break.
She said: "I have dealt with this kind of pressure before and I overcame it. I know that I will thrive amid adversity."
Asked if there will be any pre-fight jitters, she said: "It's only natural. However, I don't necessarily think that it's a bad thing. For me, the nerves keep me more alert."
As with all her fights, she has drawn up a "hit list" - dishes the self-professed foodie had to abstain from while preparing for the fight.
This time, the list has a new entrant - pad thai, which she had to pass up while visiting the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
"The dieting is always hard. It never gets easier. I can't wait to cross it all off after the fight," said Lee.
The target is now on her back. But, even if a sore throat has almost robbed her of her voice, count on Lee to deliver an emphatic statement tonight.