Stamp Fairtex Comments on Itsuki Hirata – Ritu Phogat Grand Prix Matchup

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It has been far too long since Stamp Fairtex has had a belt draped over her shoulder.

After a disastrous 2020 where she lost both the ONE Atomweight Kickboxing and Muay Thai World Championships, the Thai fighter has recalibrated and shifted her focus to a new goal — winning the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix and earning a shot at a mixed martial arts world title.

Stamp knows that winning the tournament would put her in a prime position for a future title shot against reigning division queen “Unstoppable” Angela Lee, who has held the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title since 2016.

Yet as focused as she is in her preparations for the Grand Prix semifinal bout against Julie Mezabarba of Brazil, the 23-year-old couldn’t help but lean over her shoulder and be intrigued at the other bracket matchup where Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata of Japan and Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat of India are fighting for a similar spot in the final.

The next round of the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix resumes at the upcoming ONE: NEXTGEN event, slated for October 29.

“I’m really excited to watch the Ritu Phogat versus Itsuki Hirata fight. I think that fight is very interesting because you have two girls who are pretty well-rounded but who are also both looking to take matters to the ground,” she said.

It’s an interesting draw with the two showcasing what they’re made of in their respective quarterfinal matches in early September.

Phogat leaned on her excellent wrestling to stun erstwhile #2-ranked atomweight contender Meng Bo via unanimous decision. Meanwhile, Hirata banked on her judo skills to stave off a game challenge from Alyse “Lil’ Savage” Anderson to come away with the unanimous decision victory.

Having watched both of their matches, Stamp shared her thoughts on the Phogat-Hirata semifinal battle.

“I think Ritu needs the fight to come into close range and she’s going to want to land a takedown early and get into top position where she’s dominant. But if Itsuki can keep her at distance, she has a good chance of being able to pick her apart from the outside. Although if it does go to the ground, Itsuki is dangerous there as well,” she stated.

Fairly matched as these two may be, Stamp isn’t shy in making her bold pick as she said:

“It’s going to be a close fight and it’s hard to pick a winner, but I’m going with Itsuki on this one,” Stamp added.

ONE Championship returns on Friday, October 15 with ONE: FIRST STRIKE, featuring a battle for the inaugural ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Championship between Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan and Superbon. Also, the quarterfinal round of the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix commences with eight of the best kickboxers in the world.

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