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One Championship: Ritu Phogat faces Itsuki Hirata in Grand Prix semifinals

New Delhi, Sep 27: Ritu Phogat's semifinal matchup in the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix has been confirmed. At ONE: NEXTGEN on October 29, the Indian superstar takes on Japan's Itsuki "Android 18" Hirata.

The winner of the bout will face the victor of the other semifinal clash between "Arale Chan" Seo Hee Ham and former two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex.

Phogat took to social media to share her delight, posting a picture with a caption that read: "The votes are in and the match is on... Let's go India. Next up Japan vs India."
On paper, this semifinal bout between the flashy atomweight athletes should be an interesting one.

"The Indian Tigress" owns extensive knowledge in wrestling, while Hirata's grappling expertise has been clear ever since she made her debut in ONE Championship.
Despite both athletes possessing a more superior skill set on the ground, they have showcased that they can stand and bang when called upon.

Phogat, especially, has shown a far more comfortable game plan on the feet in her two recent outings against Chinese counterparts "MMA Sister" Lin Heqin and #2-ranked atomweight contender Meng Bo.

There's still plenty of room for growth for "The Indian Tigress" in terms of striking, but she has spent countless hours sharpening those tools at Evolve MMA in Singapore.

Because of that, it has given her some confidence as she steps into the ONE Women's Atomweight World Grand Prix semifinals.

"I am ready for any challenge in the semifinals. I would like to beat the best and reach the final. I want to prove that I am the best," she said.

"I still have to improve in lots of things because I will have to face tougher challenges in the upcoming matches. I must make myself better, so I will be training even harder than before."

Tougher challenges are guaranteed for India's 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Gold Medalist should she advance to the final, be it against Ham or Stamp.

However, Phogat is certain she has what it takes to carve a path towards the ultimate prize - a shot at ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion "Unstoppable" Angela Lee.

"I consider myself to be the best, and I will prove to the world that I am the best fighter in the atomweight division," Phogat said.

Source: Media Release

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Story first published: Monday, September 27, 2021, 14:35 [IST]
Other articles published on Sep 27, 2021