“Success changes people in different ways” - Denice Zamboanga thinks Angela Lee may not have the fire anymore

Denice Zamboanga (left) doesn't think Angela Lee (right) will be the same fighter when she comes back [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]
Denice Zamboanga (left) doesn't think Angela Lee (right) will be the same fighter when she comes back [Photo courtesy of ONE Championship]
Atilano Diaz

Denice Zamboanga has had a well-documented back-and-forth with Angela Lee for the better part of the last 12 months.

Denice Zamboanga, who is ranked No.1 in the atmoweight division, respects what the longtime 105-pound queen has accomplished in her career. However, the 24-year-old also has reservations as to whether or not Lee can return to her previous form, post-partum.

Lee became a mother when she gave birth to daughter Ava Marie earlier this year. Her pregnancy caused a lengthy absence from professional competition. Lee hasn’t fought since October of 2019. Denice Zamboanga thinks it will be all up to the Singapore superstar to make a successful comeback, if she can.

Speaking to ONE Championship in a recent interview, Zamboanga said:

“It really depends on how dedicated Angela is to come back. She is a mother now and she has reached a level of success that most of us only dream of. She might not have that burning desire to win anymore. Success changes people in different ways. We’ve seen it affect fighters like Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor. It’s hard to stay at the top because every fight is your biggest fight ever. But then again, some fighters come back better than ever before.
“Angela has the tools and I know she will do anything to keep the atomweight belt. But this is a mental game as much as it is physical. Angela has reached all of her dreams in this sport and has had a fantastic career. That kind of takes away from the fire.”

Is Denice Zamboanga doubting Angela Lee’s ability to return to form?

Denice Zamboanga seems to be hinting that Lee, who is expected to make a 2022 return, could possibly come back a shell of her former self.

Lee recently shared a few photos of her current physical condition on her official Instagram and the Hawaii native looks absolutely ripped. However, an extended period away from competing at the highest level of the sport no doubt takes away some of the edge, so Denice Zamboanga certainly has a point.

Denice Zamboanga is also expected to make an early 2022 appearance, with a rematch against No.3-ranked atomweight contender Seo Hee Ham likely. If given the choice, Denice Zamboanga would still prefer a showdown with Lee at the soonest possible time.

“I’d fight both of them on the same night [chuckles]! Joking aside, I’d still pick Angela Lee. I’ve been waiting to fight her for such a long time now. I still think I deserve that fight. And so many fans want to see it. They want to see me fight Angela Lee. The media have covered our fight a lot as well. And I think there’s just overwhelming interest to see this fight.”

Edited by Harvey Leonard
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