Rika Ishige Ready To Bounce Back At ONE: A New Breed 3
Thai superstar Rika Ishige will return to action this Friday at ONE: A New Breed 3. Her opponent will be fellow Thai Sunisa Srisen, who made her promotional debut at ONE: No Surrender in a losing effort to Stamp Fairtex.
Both fighters are coming off losses, with Ishige riding a two-fight skid. Her most recent fight saw her submitted by Japanese rising star Itsuki Hirata at ONE: Century last October. Speaking exclusively to Asian Persuasion MMA, ‘Tiny Doll’ said she is happy to be able to set foot inside the ONE Circle once again.
“I’m so excited very much because for the COVID pandemic, we cannot train properly for a very long time,” Ishige said. “And after everything opened, I [went] back to the gym and training. I feel so happy to be in the ring again.”
“So Hard But So Good”
But even with closed gyms amidst the pandemic, Ishige found a way to stay in shape. She achieved this through at-home workouts.
“Mostly I worked out in my condo room. Just weight training, skipping rope in the parking lot, and shadowboxing in my room. That’s it. After that, [when] the gym opened, I can train properly. I feel so good.”
Since gyms around Thailand have reopened, ‘Tiny Doll’ has been doing her training at Tiger Muay Thai once again. As intense as it may have been, Ishige has enjoyed the preparation and feels better than ever.
“It’s been so very good because I have a few girls from big promotions,” Ishige said. “They’re professional, bigger than me, and technical. So I have to survive and I learn new things. So hard but so good.
“A few months ago, I trained more Muay Thai. I trained with a higher-ranking Muay Thai girl, she came to train with me for the Thai clinching. I moved to a new strength and conditioning gym to prepare for this bout.”
“It’s Going To Be Fun”
Ishige will be looking to get back into the win column when she faces Srisen this Friday. And while acknowledging her opponent’s strength and judo background, ‘Tiny Doll’ believes that she still has the advantage both on the feet and on the ground.
“My opponent, Sunisa, I think she’s bigger than me and she’s so strong from the upper body because she did judo before,” she said. “But I think for the striking, she’s not that comfortable. I think it’s going to be fun.”
“I saw her take a lot of knees [from Stamp Fairtex] and she was still standing, so she’s so strong. For the ground, I think she’s not that technical because she was still holding Stamp’s head when she [was] on the ground. So maybe I can finish her on the ground or on my feet.”
After five months of inactivity, ONE Championship was finally able to return in July, giving fighters like Ishige a chance to be active again. It’s also given the 31 year old a chance to show her fans how much she’s improved since her last fight.
“It’s so amazing because it’s been a long time that ONE [took a] break from the events,” Ishige said. “When I come back, I feel like it’s so amazing and I want to show some new things that I learned from back then.
“I have just two plans, beat her on striking on my feet, or just ground and pound. So let’s see.”
Can Rika Ishige get back to winning ways and pick up a win against Sunisa Srisen this Friday night at ONE: A New Breed 3?