Mixed Martial Arts World Title: Stamp Fairtex Happy to Let Friend Go First
Just 19 seconds into her mixed martial arts debut at Rich Franklin’s ONE Warrior Series (OWS), Stamp Fairtex had scored an explosive knockout victory to earn herself a contract with ONE Championship.
A master of Muay Thai, the young starlet unleashed a stunning head kick that would be seen by millions around the world. She made a statement.
Given her background, it was not surprising that she brought her immaculate striking into mixed martial arts. What’s perhaps impressed onlookers even more though, is her rapid evolution in the other facets of the sport.
A second statement was swiftly made after her ONE debut. This time she would cement the victory using her Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, sinking in a textbook rear naked choke to defeat India’s Asha Roka in the third round at ONE: DREAMS OF GOLD in Bangkok.
Having already established herself as a trailblazer by winning both the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Titles, she is widely touted to win another golden strap in mixed martial arts competition.
Having recently lost her kickboxing championship to the USA’s Janet Todd, the young Thai might zero in on conquering another discipline.
Stamp’s mixed martial arts record currently stands at 4-0, but despite the excitement surrounding her performances so far, she believes she still needs time before she’s ready to take the belt from current champion Angela Lee.
“It is still a long way for me. I’ll need to practice my ground game and learn more techniques to use in my next fight,” says Stamp.
In recent months, ONE’s atomweight division has begun to really heat up. And Stamp’s path to the belt is not without complications. She is not the only young star currently making a run at the gold.
Back in February at ONE: KING OF THE JUNGLE in Singapore, Fairtex teammate and friend Denice Zamboanga (7-0) put on a career-best performance to defeat former two-time ONE World Title challenger Mei Yamaguchi via unanimous decision. In overcoming the Japanese veteran, the 23 year-old reportedly earned herself the next shot at Lee.
“In my opinion, Denice is a fantastic and well-rounded athlete – especially in striking, and showed she’s better than Mei. I look forward to seeing her fight for the title soon,” says Stamp.
Both training out of Fairtex Gym in Pattaya, the pair often share social media posts of themselves training hard and showing off new dance moves. With both women holding strong title ambitions, Stamp insists that their friendship is strong enough to withstand the competition.
“I think it’s ok for both of us, because it means we are both the top athletes in this weight class who can compete with Angela Lee. I think Denice will be the right opponent (for Angela) having beaten Mei in her last fight. If she beats Angela, I would be proud of her, but if she loses, then no worries, I’ll get revenge for her,” says Stamp.
Further still, Stamp believes their bond could also overcome the prospect of having to face each other in the Circle, should it come to that.
“If one day me and Denice compete against each other, we both know that we’re going to try our best on stage, and once we’ve done our job, we’ll always remain best friends,” says Stamp.
The atomweight plot thickens further. There is one more talented young gun on the edge of the title mix. Perhaps a little further back in the pecking order but arguably just as talented is ferocious Japanese star, Itsuki Hirata.
The 20 year-old has looked mighty impressive since making her pro debut in ONE last year and finished all her opponents. Stamp has been impressed with her performances and likes the potential match-up.
“Hirata is strong and the way she fights is actually like Denice. If I fight her it could be fun as our styles are very different,” says Stamp.
The current global situation has put a pause on things at present, but both Stamp and Denice are in isolation now in Thailand still training, albeit whilst practicing social distancing measures.
ONE Championship recently teamed up with international advocacy organization, Global Citizen, to air the live ‘ONE World: Together At Home’ global special which saw some of the world’s leading artists perform in a virtual, no-contact concert last Sunday, 19 April (SGT). The event drew in millions of viewers from around the world in a show of unity to battle the coronavirus pandemic, which raised over US$127.9 million for the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
ONE Championship athletes like Stamp have also participated in Global Citizen’s #TogetherAtHome initiative to provide fans with home workouts, and health and fitness tips through a series of online videos.