Ella Tang takes a timeout to pose for some pics during training for her ONE FC bout in jakarta next week. - LOW BOON TAT/ The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Ella Tang is tough as nails.
No stranger to martial arts, the 24-year-old fighter – who goes by the moniker “Ice Cool” – dabbled in taekwondo from a young age before turning to muay thai in 2009. She’s also into sanshou (Chinese boxing), picking up a bronze at the Asian Championships in the women’s 65kg category in 2012.
Now, after a four-year absence, Ella is ready to unleash her fury when she makes her bow in the ONE FC: Era of Champions in Jakarta on June 14 against Indonesia’s Desi Rahayu.
But the Kuala Lumpur-born fighter has that extra bite this time – she’s not afraid of anyone, or anything.
Not after the harrowing experience last April when she and five of her friends were involved in a road accident in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
A truck transporting metal rods careened into the Toyota Avanza she was in. Ella, who was sitting behind the driver, narrowly missed getting impaled by the metal rods. She only received six stitches on her shoulder and seven on her right knee.
“I have first-hand experience on how things can change in a split second,” said Ella showing off her scars.
“The accident has thought me that I’ve got to live in the now. You have to grab any opportunity that comes your way because you never know what could happen in the next minute, hour or day.”
She then lived up to her tough-as-nails image when she began training at full throttle just a month later.
“That just means that when I’m in the cage, I’m in no mood to back down. Come what may, I’m going to give it all I’ve got,” she said.
Ella’s last professional bout was back in 2010 against China’s Sun Jiao. Ella lost that bout via a technical knockout but she fancies her chances in the bantamweight (61kg) bout against Indonesia’s Desi Rahayu next week.
Jakarta-based Desi, 21, poses a real threat as she is a former national judoka silver medallist.
“We’re different fighters. I know Desi’s strength is her ground work and I’m a striker. She’d want to take the fight to the ground while I’d like to keep it standing up,” said Ella, who also works as a trainer at TNT Kickboxing in Desa Sri Hartamas.
“I like to dictate the play. That’s how I’ve always approached my matches. I can take a lot of punishment. That’s just how I’m built. Whatever an opponent throws at me, I can take it. And I’d say ‘come on, is that all?’
“And it’s not going to be any different against Desi. I’ve been waiting a long time for this ... I’m just excited. I can’t wait to get into the ring.”