Ritu Phogat’s atomweight grand prix quarterfinal win did not come easy.
At Friday’s Empower card, the ONE Championship fighter and decorated Indian wrestler had to deal with some real adversity from China’s Meng Bo. Bo appeared to have her hurt towards the end of the first round, and heading into the second, Phogat’s ability to recover was in question.
She did, however, falling back on her dominant wrestling to clearly win the remainder of the fight. Speaking to Cageside Press and other media outlets following the event, Phogat said of the experience that she felt she had “done a pretty good job during the match, even though the first round, I wasn’t doing that great of a job.”
“But then I managed to get through the next two rounds pretty well, and I made sure that I was a very strong competitor against Meng Bo,” she continued. When it comes to competition, Bo, with over 20 fights to her name, has absolutely been Phogat’s toughest yet.
That’s the type of opponent, and fight, that should serve her well moving forward. The now 6-1 Phogat stated that “I feel that the fact that I’ve actually competed against a very strong fighter, I managed to gain not only confidence but experience. The way that I managed to compete against Meng Bo has definitely helped to amp up my confidence at this point in time, and that’s something that I want to forward with every match I’m going to be in, [starting] with the next round.”
The next round doesn’t have a date yet, but the potential opponents include Stamp Fairtex, Itsuki Hirata, and Seo Hee Ham (for now). Phogat says she’s ready for any one of them.
“I’m ready to take on anyone that’s actually being paired with me, and it doesn’t matter who it’s going to be,” she told the media following Friday’s event. “I’m ready to take on the next challenge, and I’m willing to actually put on the effort, and I’m going to go forth and make sure that I prove myself, and prove that I am still the best in the competition.”
Watch the full ONE: Empower post-fight media appearance from Ritu Phogat above.