"I know I have bigger challenges to combat in future."
Indian wrestler-turned-mixed martial arts fighter Ritu Phogat won her fourth professional MMA bout on December 4, 2020.
The 26-year-old beat Philippines’ Jomary Torres by technical knockout in the first round at ONE Championship: Big Bang.
On paper, Torres seemed to be the more experienced fighter, with eight wins compared to Phogat’s three before the bout.
Popularly known as the ‘Zamboanginian Fighter’, Torres stunned Phogat with straight punches early on, causing the latter to shoot for a takedown.
On the mat, Phogat used her wrestling skills to move into a mounted crucifix position before landing a series of elbows from the top.
Using hammerfists and elbows, Torres was unable to defend herself properly and the referee was forced to stop the match, meaning that Phogat moved to 4-0.
Phogat had said: “I am constantly pushing my boundaries in the circle and the match with Jomary bore witness to the same.
“Although this was not an easy match, I know I have bigger challenges to combat in future.
“My next focus is securing the top spot at the ONE Women’s Atomweight Grand Prix tournament and I am working relentlessly to bring the glory home.”
It's 4-0. Your love,support and prayers all worked ???. I can't thank enough, my coaches, my team,my country, for believing in me and supporting me throughout my journey so far. It's a team effort and I am enjoying my run. I promise to carry the same momentum to 2021 ????? pic.twitter.com/P2CniPfu8y
— Ritu phogat (@PhogatRitu) December 5, 2020
Commenting on the sacrifices she made to retain her unbeaten run, Haryana-born Phogat said:
“I had to miss my sister’s wedding for the match and have really sacrificed to get to this level.
“I am really looking forward to visiting home for a couple of weeks now although I don’t want it to hamper my training.
“My heart is in the right place and my passion is undeterred to expedite India’s run in the MMA space.”
“We must have started late but I’ll ensure that we get there sooner than the others!”
She added: “I wish to start an academy for MMA athletes in India down the line, although that vision may take some time to transform into reality.”
— ONE Championship (@ONEChampionship) December 4, 2020
During her wrestling career, Phogat won three Indian national championships before taking gold at the 2016 Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in Singapore.
Leaving a message for her fans, Phogat concluded:
“Yes 2020 has been rewarding, but wait until 2021…that will be the year of ‘dreams’ for my nation, my fellow Indian athletes, my family and my well-wishers.”
After her victory, fans have been quick to congratulate her on Twitter, one user posted:
— Akshay Khade (@Akkikhade3637) December 4, 2020
Only time will tell if Ritu Phogat can carry on her winning run and eventually challenge for the ONE Championship title.