Team Lakay's Iniong driven by desire to challenge for a championship
Santino Honasan on Nov 23, 2017 07:34 PM
"Malaki yung respeto ko sa kanya, pero malaki din yung determination ko na mag-champion."
When Gina Iniong steps into the ONE Championship cage on Friday, it will be her second time to do so in two weeks.
Following her win over Priscila Lumban Gaol at ONE: Legends of the World in Manila, Iniong immediately found out that she'll be fighting again in 14 days in Singapore.
"Nung pagkatapos nung laban ko sa Manila, sinabi na ni Coach Mark [Sangiao] na lalaban daw ako ngayon, kaya nung pagbalik namin sa Baguio, kinabukasan, nagstart na kami ng training."
(Right after my fight in Manila, Coach Mark Sangiao told me that I'll be fighting again in two weeks, so when we when back up to Baguio, we started training the very next day.)
It's a quick turnaround for Iniong, who needed only two rounds to put away Gaol via TKO.
What's more is that she won't be stepping back into the cage against just any atomweight. She'll be going up against former world title challenger and current number one contener Mei 'VV' Yamaguchi.
Driven by her desire to challenge those at the top of her division, Iniong, without hesitation, accepted the fight.
"Kung may injury siguro ako, mag-aalangan akong tanggapin, pero wala naman akong nakuhang injury nung last na laban ko, tapos gusto ko rin marating yung top."
"Hindi naman sa pagmamayabang, pero ang gusto ko talaga makalaban ay yung champion." Iniong added.
(If I was injured, I would have thought twice about taking the fight, but I didn't get hurt during my last fight, and I'm here to reach to top of the division. I really want to fight the champion.)
Yamaguchi was supposed to challenge Angela Lee for the title, but the champion suffered a concussion in a vehicular accident and had to withdraw from the fight.
Lee's withdrawal opens up a world of opportunities for Iniong, who's already beaten Yamaguchi once before, back in 2014.
When the two ladies meet again on Friday night, the stakes will be exponentially higher.
A win for Iniong could mean the she leapfrogs Yamaguchi as the number one contender to Angela Lee's atomweight world championship.
That alone, is enough to keep Iniong hungry and motivated for this fight.
"Masaya ako, at least makakalaban ko na si Angela [kung sakali]. Hindi ko naman ina-underestimate yun kasi alam naman natin na talented and skilled fighter si Angela." Iniong shared. "Malaki yung respeto ko sa kanya, pero malaki din yung determination ko na mag-champion."
(I'm happy that I could get the chance to fight Angela. I'm not underestimating her because all know how talented and skilled a fighter Angela is. I have a great deal of respect for her, but an even greater deal of determination to become champion)
Before any talk of challenging Angela Lee commences however, the Team Lakay standout will first have to repeat history and take Yamaguchi out once again.
Atomweight contenders do battle, as Team Lakay's Gina Iniong meets Mei Yamaguchi at ONE: Immortal Pursuit.
Catch the exciting MMA action LIVE on Friday, November 24th, 8:30 PM on S+A channel 23!