Jenelyn Olsim is out to prove why she should be considered a genuine contender for the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Grand Prix Championship.
The Team Lakay star faces wrestling sensation Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat in the semifinals of the tournament at ONE: NEXTGEN this Friday, 29 October. Phogat’s initial opponent, Itsuki “Android 18” Hirata, was forced to withdraw earlier this week due to an undisclosed medical condition.
Despite being called up at the eleventh hour, Olsim is confident that she has what it takes to advance into the final.
“I am very confident in myself. I trust my training, coach, and my gym. I believe I can beat anyone they give me. I’m just very motivated and focused right now. I want to win,” she said.
The Atomweight Grand Prix is something Olsim had aimed for following her spectacular debut at ONE: FISTS OF FURY III in March of this year. At the event, the promotional newcomer tapped out #5-ranked strawweight star Maira Mazar via guillotine choke in 41 seconds of the third round.
In August, she dropped a division to take on Bi “Killer Bee” Nguyen, unleashing a resolute performance to leave the Circle with a unanimous decision win. Phogat, however, will be a tougher athlete than those she has faced so far, especially with the way the Indian’s been looking during fights.
“I don’t underestimate Ritu, but I know I can outstrike her when it comes to that,” Olsim said.
The 24-year-old Filipina talent respects Phogat’s skills, openly admitting that she even picked up some inspiration from her foe.
“I like Ritu, and I’m inspired by the movie ‘Dangal,’ so there’s a little pressure, but I am more excited than pressured,” the 24-year-old athlete said.
Wrestling is something that has clearly caught the attention of Olsim, and she has also been learning it at a rapid pace at Team Lakay.
Though she might not be surrounded by the same level of wrestlers as Phogat, Olsim is certain her grappling skills can match up with her foe. Above all, Olsim is out to prove that she deserves her spot in the final – and a victory over Phogat will be the perfect way to make that statement.
“I want to prove that I am not some alternate, and when it comes to wrestling I think I can also grapple with her,” she said.
“I will give everything I have, I will do everything to finish the game, it’s either a submission or knockout.”
Catch all the action from ONE: NEXTGEN this Friday, 29 October, live on Disney+ Hotstar or Star Sports Select 2 at 6 p.m. India Standard Time (IST) on Friday, 29 October.