When Gina “Conviction” Iniong and Jihin “Shadow Cat” Radzuan clash in a three-round bout in the ONE Championship Women’s Atomweight division, it will be more than just a battle between the Philippines and Malaysia.
A lot will be at stake as both women take pride in being excellent ambassadors of wushu, and the striking battle is expected to be intense when they tangle at ONE: CLASH OF LEGENDS on 16 February at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.
The pride of Baguio City, Iniong has repeatedly said that she feels she has an advantage on the feet, but Malaysia's Radzuan believes otherwise.
“Gina might be saying that based on my previous matches where I did not perform well from my striking, but people close to me know I’ve been active in kickboxing, Muay Thai, and boxing,” said the unbeaten stand-out
“If she chooses to stand and take me on, I’ve got no problem.”
Like Iniong, Radzuan is a champion in Wushu – winning the Federation International of Grandmaster Association Wushu title before ultimately making her transition to mixed martial arts.
The 20-year-old knows that she has a tall task at hand in facing the seasoned Iniong but she insists that she’s ready for whatever the Filipina throws at her on Saturday.
While giving Iniong her dues as a warrior, Radzuan is not selling herself short as she believes she has what it takes to give Iniong fits.
“I’m not going to predict or expect anything from this match. She is the more experienced opponent, and she will put on a performance However, I do not doubt my abilities and cannot look down on myself coming into the match,” stated Radzuan.
“Iniong is a tough opponent, but I’m thankful to ONE for giving me someone like her because if you fight against easier opponents, you’ll never learn. You will not know your weakness, and you’ll never improve your game.”
It will be the first time Radzuan will be battling outside of Malaysia and while she admits that there would be adjustments for her, she is glad that the bout is not in Manila, where fans are expected to be 100 percent behind Iniong.
“I cannot wait. It is going to be very different as the crowd is not from my country. But thankfully, this bout is not taking place in Manila.”