ONE Championship 161: Ritu Phogat to ‘showcase boxing and striking’ vs Tiffany Teo – ‘I want to knock her out’
- Phogat will look to rebound from a submission loss to Stamp Fairtex against Teo at ONE 161 on September 29 in Singapore
- Indian wrestler has been working on rounding out her game and aims to prove ‘I can finish by striking too’ with KO
Ritu Phogat is hoping to make a big statement in her coming fight against Tiffany Teo.
The Indian wrestler will meet Teo on the main card of ONE Championship 161, slated for September 29 in Singapore. It will be her first fight since she was submitted by Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex in the finale of the promotion’s atomweight MMA Grand Prix in December 2021, and she is hoping to win it in decisive fashion.
Not with her trademark wrestling, but with her ever-improving striking.
“I have tried to improve my striking in the last three-to-four months, and I will try my best to showcase my boxing and striking against her,” Phogat, 28, told ONE’s official website ahead of her return to the Circle.
“I want to knock her out and show the world that they have seen my wrestling and ground game, but I can finish by striking too.”
Phogat hoped to fight sooner than September 29, but after losing to Stamp at the end of the gruelling atomweight Grand Prix, decided to take some time off to recover from nagging injuries that date back to her days as a freestyle wrestler.
“I had suffered this injury on my right shoulder during my amateur wrestling days,” she said. “Last year, I had to fight with very little gap [between bouts]. The doctor asked me to take a rest, but it was not an option for me then. But after my last fight, I took some time off to rest and make a comeback.
“I had taken some time off just so that I could get back to winning ways.”
Having had some time to heal up and improve her skills, Phogat is determined to defeat Teo in Singapore, and distance herself from her disappointing loss to Stamp in one fell swoop.
“Every fight is important for me, but this is even more crucial because I suffered a loss in my last match, and then I got injured too,” she said. “I am looking forward to this fight and want to make a good comeback.”
“It’s a very important fight. [Teo] is an experienced athlete and people look up to her. But I will show on September 29 what ‘The Indian Tigress’ can do.”
Before losing to Stamp, Phogat (7-2) was riding decision wins over Lin Heqin and Meng Bo of China and Jenelyn Olsim of the Philippines.
The 32-year-old Teo (10-2), who will be fighting in front of a hometown crowd, will be dropping down to atomweight after a long stint at strawweight, where she twice fought China’s Xiong Jingnan for the division’s throne, but lost both times. She won her last fight in the division, defeating Meng by submission.
ONE 161 will be headlined by a featherweight Muay Thai title fight between champion Petchmorakot Petchyindee and challenger Tawanchai PK. Saenchai, both of Thailand.
The card will also feature the opening round of ONE’s heavyweight kickboxing Grand Prix, and an important MMA contest between No 5 lightweight contender Saygid Izagakhmaev of Russia and Chinese veteran Zhang Lipeng.