Zarika takes on Zambian challenger Phiri at KICC
- On Saturday, Phiri promised Zarika a battle ‘of nuclear warfare proportions,’ much to the amusement of fans at a packed press conference after the weigh-in session in Nairobi. A reserved Zarika vowed to go the full length of the fight and to punish Phiri like never before.
World Boxing Council (WBC) world super bantamweight champion, Kenya’s Fatuma ‘iron Fist’ Zarika and her challenger Catherine Phiri from Zambia traded friendly barbs ahead of on Saturday title fight at Kenyatta International Convention Centre.
On Saturday, Phiri promised Zarika a battle ‘of nuclear warfare proportions,’ much to the amusement of fans at a packed press conference after the weigh-in session in Nairobi. A reserved Zarika vowed to go the full length of the fight and to punish Phiri like never before.
Zarika fought Phiri, 32, for the first time two years ago in Nairobi, when the Kenyan boxer staged a successful title defence.
Zarika won on unanimous points decision, scoring 97-92, 98-95 and 99-92 on December 12, 2017 to successfully defend the title for the first time. She won the title in 2016 after beating Jamaican Alicia Ashley in USA. Zarika would stage another successful title defence, beating Mexican Yamileth Mercado in a split decision victory on September 8 last year.
Phiri, a former WBC World Bantamweight champion, has boxed thrice since then, chalking knock-out victories against Rukia Nasirite (Kenya) in 2017, Halima Yazidu (Tanzania) and Asandiswa Nxokwana (South Africa) last year.
“I am in a better shape than when I fought Phiri and Mercado,” Zarika, who has 31 wins, 12 loses and two draws (31-12-2), said yesterday. “I have improved greatly in my speed and footwork.”
Zarika, 34, said good boxers only show what they are made of in the ring, promising to use her experience to carry the day.
“The chemistry with my coaches in London was at its peak this time round, having struggled a bit when I went to train there before facing Mercado last year.”
Zarika thanked Kenyans for their inspiring messages, both on social media and in places she has visited.
“Sportpesa and the bout promoter Thomas Mutua of AfriBox Promotion can’t go unmentioned for their superb work to make the bouts happen,” said Zarika. “Last time it was fire to fire and I lost, but this time it will be nuclear-to-nuclear,” vowed Phiri, 32, who had a 16-3-0 record. “Let fans come in last numbers and early. The fight may not last long.”
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