DENICE Zamboanga has called out reigning ONE Women's Atomweight World Champion Angela Lee and urged her to vacate her belt following her pregnancy.
In a lengthy post on her Instagram account, the Filipina contender told the reigning titlist to "do the right thing" as Lee won't be able to defend her throne anytime soon.
"Angela is the world champion [and] she should do the right thing like all the great champion does. She should give the respect other fighters deserve and most importantly, she should not resist vacating the Championship belt since she cannot defend it," she wrote.
Lee recently announced her pregnancy with her partner Bruno Pucci which would keep her inactive for at least a year.
In response, ONE Championship has bared that it would hold a Women's Atomweight Grand Prix tournament, with the winner earning a title shot at Lee when she returns.
Zamboanga, who is the no. 1 contender for the title, begged to disagree.
"She made a choice to become a mother, which is great, I am very happy for her. However she [should] do the respectable thing and vacant the Championship belt herself and do [not] have to wait for the organization to ask [her to do so]," she said. "I am surprised that she hasn’t made the announcement to vacate the belt. Most great champions would [have] done this straight away as soon as they know they cannot defend the belt for personal reasons."
Zamboanga has been sensational in her rise in ONE Championship, going unbeaten in all of her three matches, including an impressive unanimous decision win over Mei Yamaguchi at ONE: King of the Jungle in Singapore last February, and a quick first round submission victory over Watsyapinya Kaewkhong at ONE: A New Breed in Bangkok last August.
"I have proven myself to the world," she said. "I am the number one contender. I earned it through beating world class opponents. I have already faced Mei Yamaguchi, the fighter that almost beat Angela."
Zamboanga even compared her experience facing off against Yamaguchi to that of Lee's, believing that the Singapore-based champion got lucky in her previous showdowns in 2016 and 2018, both of which ended in unanimous decision victories.
"The fight, I believe, Angela was very fortunate to [have won]. She was in trouble most of the time during that fight," she said. "I was never in trouble during that fight. Mei is a great fighter and I have a lot of respect for her. In my opinion, she is a better fighter than Angela."
Lee, for her part, last defended the ONE Women's Atomweight title back in October last year at ONE: Century Part I, where she scored a submission win over Xiong Jingnan in Tokyo.
Zamboanga, though, implored Lee to make the noble move and expressed that when the reigning champion can fight again, she'll be ready for a faceoff.
"I hope she does the right thing and make the announcement herself. Be the respectable champion as I always know her to be," she said.
"When she is ready to come back, I will be waiting for her."