Hong Kong’s Ramona Pascual adding firepower to her arsenal as she aims to get back in the habit of winning

The Hong Kong fighter is currently training in South Korea ahead a fifth career fight

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 5:27pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 August, 2017, 5:27pm

Ramona Pascual is exploring every offer that comes her way as the Hong Kong fighter strives to make her mark in the world of mixed martial arts.

The past month alone has seen the 28-year-old spend time at Kings MMA – the beating heart of the sport in Los Angeles. Now, Pascual is halfway into a month-long training stint as the guest of the Road Fighting Championship promotion, the largest in South Korea, as she looks to add firepower to her arsenal.

“I am just trying to get my foot in the door and make the most of any opportunity that comes up,” Pascual says from her training base in Wonju, about an hour out of Seoul. “I just go for it. You have to, that’s all part of the game. I feel in a way that I am playing catch up as I started late.

“Being around these top fighters makes a huge impact. It opens up your mind and it tests your game and improves your skills. It can be quite intimidating as there are styles of training that I’m not used to and a level of training too. It’s been just a great experience.”

Pascual’s record in the sport now stands at 2-2 – with all four fights coming over the course of less than a year – and two straight losses have seen her reappraise both her preparation and her training methods. In both bouts – against England’s Jennifer Norris in April and then Australia’s Janay Harding in May – Pascual bossed the first rounds impressively but found the going tough as the clock ticked away.

“It’s still early days and from my two losses I have gained a lot of insight into how I can better develop,” says Pascual. “I had two offers for fights over the next month or so but I realised at this stage the training is more important to me, and in terms of where I want to go in my fight career. The last two fights were pretty close together and I learned a lot. There’s a lot of things I know now I would have done differently but this is just the beginning for me and I am learning all the time.”

The simple fact that Pascual is on the radar of a promotion as large as Road FC, which has so far hosted more than 40 sold-out events in South Korea, China, and Japan, shows just how much natural talent for MMA the one-time Hong Kong rugby squad member has shown. It’s raw, still, as Pascual freely admits, but she’s keen to make up for the fact that she started in the sport relatively late by packing as much into her schedule as possible.

Beaten but unbowed, Ramona Pascual vows to return a better fighter

“Everyone wants to have a great record, there’s no doubt about that,” she says. “I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the fact that this year I have had two losses, thinking about how I really feel about it and how I am supposed to feel about it. But as you fight you gain attention. You come up on people’s radar. It’s about putting on good performances but also working social media and your marketability. I’ve seen older fighters with massive records that include a string of losses but they’ve still got a huge fan following, they keep getting fights.

“As terrible as they can be, losses teach you so much. You learn – quickly – what’s wrong with your game plan or your training. So you learn way more than you do from a victory. And it’s a test of yourself physically and mentally.”

The Road FC bosses were in Hong Kong back in May to cast their eyes over the city’s ever-growing stable of fighters and Pascual said she had been in close contact with them ever since, leading to her month-long camp in South Korea.

While there’s no guarantee of a contract, she’s been able to be in and around the organisation and its fighters during their card last Saturday night in Wonju, to get a feel for what Road FC are all about. Pascual says the experience is showing just how vast the MMA landscape has become across Asia.

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“The level is great here,” she says. “They train in a very well-rounded style of MMA here. The whole purpose of being here is to enhance my training because in Hong Kong we don’t have a deep level of MMA. There’s a lot of Muay Thai, there’s a lot of jiu-jitsu but things are quite separate. It’s about broadening my toolbox into more of an MMA style.

“I’ve been in meetings here were the Road FC people are talking about people they are keeping their eyes on,” she says. “Everyone is looking for talent which is really cool to see. It just shows the possibilities that are out there when you do start fighting which is great for me and for other Hong Kong fighters.”