Ritu Phogat and Lin Heqin clash under the ONE Championship banner in a fight with notable divisional importance.
This contest goes down on Friday, July 30th, and emanates from Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Ritu Phogat and Lin Heqin
I spoke with both of these atomweight contenders through their respective translators at the ONE: Battleground media day. Excerpts from my interactions with these combatants can be found below.
Ritu Phogat excerpt
I’m kind of wondering how much seeing India succeed in the Olympics is inspiring Ritu ahead of her upcoming performance here.
“Ritu says that indeed, it motivates her a lot. In fact, we’ve just won the weightlifting medal and that sort of encourages her to perform better. So when the Indian athletes are making the country proud at the Olympics, Ritu feels that it’s a story for her to emulate at the ONE Championship Circle as well. So definitely, it plays a great role as a motivating agent for her.”
Fighting an opponent on an 11 fight win streak here. What are Ritu’s thoughts on Lin Heqin as a fighter overall?
“So Ritu says yes, definitely the opponent’s standing game is really strong. And she brings more experience to the table than Ritu Phogat. But then Ritu does not ponder too much on the opponent’s strength. For now, every opponent is the same. All she’s focused on is giving her best while she is in the (ONE) Circle.”
Lin Heqin excerpt
It’s closing in on two and a half years since Lin last competed there. But it seems maybe the time off facilitated healing some injuries.
I’m kind of wondering how Lin is feeling overall heading into the ONE Circle after this hiatus here.
“Yeah, I got a very good recovery from the past few years. And I think all my injuries are getting well. And now I’m doing good. I got very good fitness. And yeah, I’m all prepared.”
With a win here that’ll make it a 12 fight win streak and you talk about wanting to hold out to fight Angela Lee for the title. But also, you know, very active in prior years.
Is there this idea of hold out for the title shot should you get a victory here? Or would you stay active should it be a little bit for Angela Lee to get back to the ONE Circle?
“So as you said before, I’ve got a 12 winning streak. So yeah, it’s a very good record for me. I know I haven’t fought for the past two years. So, yeah, I kept training myself in the past two years. I’m doing very good right now. So I’m eager to get the title shot and of course I want to stay active. From now on, I want to get as many fights as possible. So just go fight Angela Lee right now.”
I was just wondering about the Sanda base and that being a big part of the martial arts journey.
How important is it for Lin to showcase her Sanda skill set on a global stage like ONE Championship?
“Sanda is kind of like Chinese boxing, Chinese kickboxing. It’s very focused on my punch and my kick. But it’s very speedy. It’s faster than Muay Thai. Faster than other combat sports. So I think where Sanda really helped me was (being) flexible. I mean, I know how to control my opponents by my legs. By my arm, by my punch. And I can be much speedier than my opponent.”
I’ve been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I’ve hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I’ve been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I’ve provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I’ve worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.