Issue of January 10, 2021
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Iniong vows to return to ONE Championship
by Harley F. Palangchao

COMEBACK BID -- Former ONE women’s atomweight title contender Gina Iniong has reconsidered her earlier plan to retire from combat sports after giving birth last year, as she reported she is willing to go back in training for possible fights this year. -- ONE photo

ONE women’s atomweight contender Gina Iniong of the famed Team Lakay has been out of action since her January 2020 victory over India’s Asha Roka.

She has since spent months in isolation, dealing with the ramifications of the Covid-19 pandemic, just like everyone else.

However, things have been quite eventful outside of the cage for the Filipina mixed martial arts veteran.

Iniong has announced she was pregnant with her first child with husband Richard Araos shortly after the bout, and decided to step away from the limelight to focus on her family.

“I won gold in kickboxing at the Southeast Asian Games. I represented my country and brought glory and honor back to the Philippines. Most important of all, I was able to get married and have my precious baby girl,” said Iniong.

Iniong welcomed daughter Gianna Rose into the world last November, as she claimed the birth of her child has helped put focus into her life, and she in turn discovered a newfound appreciation for the simplest of things.

While Iniong’s focus over the next few months will be to take care of and raise her child and spend time with family, she will also be trying her best to stay fit and healthy.

At one point during her pregnancy, Iniong has considered retiring altogether, but Team Lakay coach Mark Sangiao convinced her to make a firm decision only after giving birth. She ultimately decided to continue on with her career, stating she is more motivated now than ever.

Before she took a break from competition, Iniong was ranked fifth in the women’s atomweight in ONE Championship. Due to her inactivity, that spot has since been relinquished to Thailand’s Stamp Fairtex.

Iniong, however, isn’t the least bit fazed by the recent turn of events. In fact, the Filipino fighting veteran is even more determined now to reaffirm herself as one of ONE Championship’s most talented females.

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