Ritu Phogat Accepts a Short Notice Replacement in Her Atomweight Grand Prix Semi-Final at ONE: NEXT GEN

Published 10/25/2021, 2:16 PM EDT


Ritu Phogat, ONE Championship’s atomweight sensation, is one of the most promising female fighters in her division right now. The Indian wrestler won gold at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championships in 2016. Phogat currently holds a commendable professional fight record of 6 wins and 1 loss. She is hungry to be India’s first ONE champion.

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Ritu Phogat would have faced Japanese fighter Itsuki Hirata in the women’s Grand Prix semifinals. However, owing to her unfortunate illness, Itsuki Hirata was made to withdraw from the fight. According to reports, Ritu Phogat will now compete in the grand prix semifinals against Filipino fighter Jenelyn Olsim. The Filipino fighter accepted the match on short notice and will compete for a spot in the atomweight finals.

After a loss against Bi Nguyen, ‘The Indian Tigress’ is now on a two-fight winning streak. She won her last two fights via unanimous decision. Her last victory was her most significant one, where she beat top contender Meng Bo of China. However, this time around, Phogat will have to rethink her strategy against Oslim, who is a different kind of fighter.

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Phogat was training for a grappling-heavy bout against Hirata. While Olsim is famous for her striking ability. She also has a 5 cm reach advantage over Phogat at 161cm, which means the Indian would have to overcome Olsim’s strikes if she wants to bag the win. In her previous battle with Bi Nguyen, Phogat struggled in this type of stylistic clash and lost following a split decision.

Ritu Phogat accepts Itsuki Hirata’s apology

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Itsuki Hirata was forced to withdraw from her upcoming Grand Prix semifinal atomweight bout. Following her illness-related withdrawal, she resorted to social media to express her feelings. On Twitter, she shared her feelings about her present condition and apologized to her sponsors, employees, fans, and to Ritu Phogat.

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Ritu displayed outstanding sportsmanship by accepting the Japanese fighter, Itsuki Hirata’s heartfelt apologies. This is a rather uncommon sight in MMA. Usually, when a fighter withdraws, the opponent usually rushes to social media to trash talk the fighter. This time, though, it was the other way around, and it was a heartwarming sight to see in the MMA world.

If Ritu Phogat wins her forthcoming battle against Jenelyn Olsim on short notice, she will have the chance to create history for her nation. This is her shot at becoming the first female ONE champion for her country, India.

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Pranit Punjabi

167 articles

Pranit Punjabi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. A third-year psychology major, this Khabib Nurmagomedov fan merged his interest in psychology with his deep passion for MMA and was intrigued by this new angle to help him get closer to the action. Pranit aims to look through the violence and chaos, into what makes MMA truly beautiful, the deep and rich psychological aspect of the game.

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