Indian national wrestling champion Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat believes her next fight is going to be her toughest yet.
The undefeated rising star is scheduled to face Filipina athlete Jomary “The Zamboanginian Fighter” Torres at ONE: BIG BANG, which broadcasts live from the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore on Friday, 4 December.
After coming off a second-round stoppage victory over Cambodia’s Nou Srey Pov last October, Phogat says she feels fortunate to be able to step back inside the Circle in such a short amount of time. The 26-year-old out of Evolve MMA in Singapore invites fans from all over the world to tune in and witness the progress she has made so far in her career.
“I feel good. It’s important to maintain the momentum. I was able to compete again after eight months, so now I’m feeling great and super fit. It’s good to be back. I’m just lucky I can do what I love, so it’s good for me,” said Phogat.
“Every fight for me is a learning experience, and I think I improve with every match. My goal is to get better with every fight. I want to invite fans to watch my next fight, so you can see how much better I have gotten.”
Torres poses another solid challenge for Phogat. The 24-year-old Filipina warrior is a SEA Games Sambo Medalist. Torres trains under the watchful eye of Filipino martial arts pioneer Rene Catalan, Founder of the renowned Catalan Fighting System, and is a tremendous wushu striker.
Phogat says she trusts the work she’s put into training with the world champions at Evolve MMA will be enough to prepare herself for the specific problems Torres poses. “The Indian Tigress” has been working hard at developing her game, especially her striking, cultivating her overall skill set to compliment her grappling.
“This match is going to be really good. Torres is really good, and it is going to be an interesting match. Definitely, she is a good fighter. She is going to be a challenge for me. I have watched her fights, and she is good. I respect her a lot, but I trust my training and hard work,” said Phogat.
“She has a strong stand-up game, but I think my wrestling game is better. I am hoping that my ground game trumps her game. For the rest, let’s see how it goes inside the Circle. I hope that whoever is watching, they see me as doing something different. I would surely like to do something different this time.”
ONE: BIG BANG is the first of ONE Championship’s live event offerings in the month of December. The main event features a showdown between ONE Light Heavyweight Kickboxing World Champion Roman Kryklia of the Ukraine and challenger Murat “The Butcher” Aygun of the Netherlands.
Phogat says that no matter the outcome, fans will be happy with how this match plays out. Fighting for the pride of India, Phogat is motivated to continue making her country proud on the global stage.
“In MMA, you need to be well-prepared in all martial arts skills. Your striking is as important as your ground game. You need to take the fight where you have strengths, and also have to work on countering your opponent’s strengths. It’s a complex dance. I will enjoy this fight and I hope fans enjoy it too,” said Phogat.
“As always, expect the best. I am going all in for this one and I will ensure people who watch us will have a great time. Fan support really motivates me and ignites me to perform even better. My fans have always supported me, and I hope that they continue doing it. It motivates me a lot. I am grateful to my countrymen. I want to keep going, marching forward with their support. I fight for my country and when my nation is behind me, it is a blessing.”