Nearly 15 months removed from her last match, the moment the Singaporean athlete stepped back inside the ONE Championship Circle, she experienced a flood of emotions.
“It has been a really long layoff, and everything felt a bit foreign,” she said.
“I kind of forgot what it felt like to do the walkout, and a lot of feelings were overflowing at that point.”
In her comeback, however, Teo experienced a different kind of entrance. Because of the health and safety concerns over the coronavirus situation, ONE Championship hosted the evening’s show as a closed-door event.
Despite the lack of on-site supporters, it was business as usual for “No Chill.”
“The feelings and emotions of walking down to the cage and everything was pretty much the same, even without the crowds,” she said.
“I was warming up backstage with my coaches and trainers, so I was already in the right place, mentally, and ready to go once I got into the Circle.”
But things took an ugly turn when Teo found herself in an arm lock by her Japanese rival in the early minutes of the opening round.
When it looked like she would become the next casualty of Miura’s trademark scarf hold Americana submission, Teo recovered and got back to her feet just before the round ended.
“My strategy was to keep things at a distance and just try to strike and not let her close the distance,” Teo said.
“Unfortunately, I was kind of off in the first round and I allowed her to come too close to me, and that’s when she managed to clinch up.”
Following the first stanza, Teo found some momentum heading into the second round.
“I told myself, ‘You better get your act together,’ because I just spent the last few minutes in the worst-case scenario that we prepared for,” she continued.
“But because I was able to get out of it, and Miura knew that was the only thing she could do to finish the fight, I believe her confidence took a huge hit.”
In the second round, Miura failed to make any adjustments while going straight for another takedown, and Teo was fully prepared.
The Team Highlight Reel representative took full advantage of her foe’s mishap and landed damaging shots to her opponent’s temple, cheek, and ribs.
The Singaporean Boxing Champion then proceeded to dominate her Japanese rival with straight rights and sharp left hooks.
“From the second round onwards, I felt like I had the distance right, and also there were different points of defense where I could still defend the takedowns and do damage to her at the same time,” Teo said.
“I knew I had to take advantage of the second and third rounds to make up for the bad positions and damages I got myself into during the first round.”
Teo never let her foot off the gas and was ultimately rewarded with a TKO stoppage in the closing seconds of the final round.
“It was a huge relief when the referee called off the fight. It was pretty overwhelming coming back,” she said.
“There were a lot of emotions, from the long layoff to finally getting back and chasing my dreams again. It is all sinking in.”
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