Fresh off a resounding victory and a successful ONE Championship debut at ONE: A NEW BREED a couple of weeks ago, 31-year-old veteran Drex “T-Rex” Zamboanga is with younger sister Denice, and together, they remain in Bangkok, Thailand to ride out the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation.
The Zamboanga siblings traveled to Thailand earlier this year to train at various Thai gyms. But when international borders closed due to the pandemic, they found themselves marooned in the “Land of a Thousand Smiles.”
“We’re all doing great here. We’ve had one full week of rest now, and it’s almost time to get back to our daily training routine.”
Nevertheless, Zamboanga says they are doing well now, and that it’s business as usual for them after a successful event.
“We’re all doing great here. We’ve had one full week of rest now, and it’s almost time to get back to our daily training routine. Time to get back to work,” said Zamboanga.
Zamboanga reveals that they are currently working on their extended visitor permit in Thailand, so they can continue training, but plan on returning home to the Philippines as soon as border restrictions begin to relax, presumably before the end of the year.
“It has been hard being away from home. But I used that sadness to motivate me to continue training here in Thailand. Me and my sister dream of becoming World Champions.”
“Right now, we’re working on our long term visas so that in the future, we won’t have any issues going in and out of Thailand. The plan is to go back to the Philippines before December to celebrate Christmas with our family and to continue training with our boxing coach there. We can’t wait to spend time with our family, maybe go on a little vacation,” said Zamboanga.
Every martial arts athlete devotes a level of sacrifice so they can focus on training. For some, it’s giving up on their favorite food in order to make weight. For others, it’s spending time away from their loved ones.
For the Zamboanga siblings, it is a combination of everything at the moment.
“It has been hard being away from home. But I used that sadness to motivate me to continue training here in Thailand. Me and my sister dream of becoming World Champions. This has fueled our drive to continue working hard. I miss my mom’s cooking, especially paksiw na bangus and nilagang baka. I miss riding my motorcycle,” said Zamboanga.
“Don’t lose hope. I know that one day we will overcome this. God is in control and I hope our prayers will be answered, and this will all end soon.”
While both Drex and Denice has no imminent bout assignments anytime soon, the siblings are staying sharp and ready for any call that might come their way.
As a flyweight, Zamboanga is in a deep tank filled with sharks. Nevertheless, he is willing to face any challenge in the Circle, even if that is against a fellow Filipino athlete.
“We don’t have any fights lined up at the moment. But even then, we can’t take our foot off the pedal. We should still be prepared at all times, because that call can come at any time,” Zamboanga concluded.
“There are a lot of great talents in the flyweight division, many of them are my fellow Filipino fighters. I don’t see any issues facing my countrymen, it’s natural in combat sports. This is sports entertainment, and our job is to put on a show for the people. It’s a sport, so we go into the Circle to showcase our martial arts skills, simple as that. We can still be friends after.”