Ritu Phogat after Angela Lee's World Title Following Confidence-Boosting Win Over Meng Bo
Indian wrestling star Ritu Phogat is developing quite nicely in her burgeoning mixed martial arts career, as evidenced by her most recent performance.
“The Indian Tigress” has grown immensely in confidence after a spectacular outing against #2-ranked atomweight contender Meng Bo at the recently concluded ONE: EMPOWER in Singapore, and already, she has her sights set on even bigger achievements.
Beaming with pride, Phogat wants everyone to know she’s coming for the belt, and that means winning the tournament and challenging reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion “Unstoppable” Angela Lee.
“I’m going to win this tournament, and then challenge my colleague Angela Lee for the world title. That would be a dream come true,” Phogat said.
With her comprehensive unanimous decision victory over Meng, Phogat advances to the semifinal round of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix. Full of pride, Phogat wants to tell all of her supporters, especially back in her home country, that she has every intention of winning the tournament and becoming the country’s first-ever female MMA world champion.
“First of all, I would like to thank all of my fans in India, all of the people who have supported me and continue to support me back home. Mixed martial arts hasn’t been easy. There has certainly been a lot of hard work put in on my part, and I appreciate all of your well wishes,” Phogat said.
“I am so motivated to win this tournament for the honor of my family and my country. There are a lot of talented women participating, and the fight against Meng Bo was indeed tough. But together with my team at Evolve MMA, my coaches, we’re going to push through to the next round, reach the finals, and win the Grand Prix.
“My ultimate goal is to join my countryman Arjan Bhullar (ONE Heavyweight World Champion) and become the first female mixed martial arts world champion in India.”
Against Meng, Phogat showcased incredible resolve, after she was dropped and hurt in the first round, care of a battish right hand from her hard-hitting Chinese counterpart. “The Indian Tigress” rallied and survived the onslaught, and then took control in the final two rounds with her world-class wrestling to dominate Meng the rest of the way.
The result was a resounding win on all three judges’ scorecards and a ticket to the semifinal round of the eight-woman bracket.
“Every fighter faces adversity. Whether we rise to the occasion or not is completely up to us. I draw my strength from everyone who is behind me, lifting me up. When I got hit by that shot, it was a good shot, but I carry the weight of an entire nation on my shoulders, and I wasn’t going to let anyone down,” Phogat said.
Awaiting Phogat in the next phase of the tournament is Japan’s Itsuki Hirata, South Korea’s Seo Hee Ham, or Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex. Based on her performance against Meng, however, Phogat may just be the favorite to win it all.
Phogat doesn’t want to get too overconfident though, and is looking to take things one fight at a time.
“All the girls in this tournament are super-talented,” Phogat said.
“It’s hard to underestimate any of them. So I have to be on top of my game. I have no doubt I will eventually challenge Angela [Lee] for the belt. I won’t stop until I reach the pinnacle of this sport.”
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