The name Alma Juniku may not be widely known amongst the ONE Championship fanbase but expect all that to change come 15 June in Shanghai, China.
The 18-year-old Australian is looking to write her name into the history books by becoming the first female Australian ONE World Champion. All that stands between Juniku and her dream is the current reigning ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Champion Stamp Fairtex.
The two will meet in the main event of ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST, which will be held in Shanghai’s Baoshan Arena.
Juniku will attempt to wrest the ONE Atomweight Muay Thai World Title away from the Stamp, and the bout has all the hallmarks of a classic contest.
Stamp is undefeated since arriving at ONE, and the 21-year-old has looked unstoppable since joining the world’s largest martial arts organization. Training out of the world-renowned Fairtex Training Center, the Thai has managed to capture both the ONE Women’s Atomweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Titles in just her first two bouts on ONE’s main roster.
However, don’t expect Juniku to be overawed by the opportunity she has been presented with. The Brisbane based athlete has been competing in Muay Thai bouts since she was a child and has been filling her trophy cabinet ever since she first laced up her gloves for a competitive fixture.
“I looked up to mainly the Thai fighters such as Buakaw and Saenchai, their style and power was something I admired and always wanted to be like,” Juniku said.
A WBC Muay Thai World Champion, Juniku was recently crowned the WBC Muay Thai Female Fighter of the Year for 2018. So while she may not have stepped into the ONE ring before, fans should not be surprised by the fact that the Modern Warrior Muay Thai trained athlete appears to be taking everything in her stride in the lead up to what up until now will be the biggest bout of her career.
“It’s nothing new to me, I’ve always fought main event, and it won’t be the first time going for a belt, I’m so excited and feel privileged I get to be main event on an amazing card,” Juniku said.
While Juniku had set your sights on a meeting with Stamp, she did not foresee just how quickly her wish would be granted.
“It was pretty unexpected. I remember putting up a post saying I’d like to compete against Stamp Fairtex in the future and then a week later I got offered a bout with her and I signed a contract with ONE I was so shocked but super stoked and happy!”
Wanting to compete against Stamp and competing against the Thai are two very different things. Stamp has steamrolled her recent opposition and looks to be improving with every matchup she participates in.
Juniku and her team are well aware of the challenge they will face in China, and have been doing everything in their power to ensure that when the opening bell sounds, they are ready for the task ahead of them.
“Stamp is a very strong and technical athlete. My team and I have studied her a bit, and we’ve been working on our game plan,” Juniku said.
The Australian may have been competing in the sport for almost a decade, but she is planning on being around for some time to come.
“I’m super grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given especially a shot at the ONE Women’s Atomweight World Title. My goal in the next few years would definitely to be winning my bouts and receiving more belts.”
Adding a ONE World Title to her collection would be no doubt be right up at the top of her list of belts she would like to add to her list of accomplishments.