‘Iron Fist’ Zarika defends WBC belt against Zambian

Saturday December 2 2017

WBC world super-bantamweight champion Kenya’s Zatuma Zarika (left) and Catherine Phiri from Zambia pose after a press conference at the Carnivore on November 30, 2017. Zarika will defend her world title against Phiri on December 2, 2017. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |

WBC world super-bantamweight champion Kenya’s Zatuma Zarika (left) and Catherine Phiri from Zambia pose after a press conference at the Carnivore on November 30, 2017. Zarika will defend her world title against Phiri on December 2, 2017. PHOTO | AYUMBA AYODI |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

By AYUMBA AYODI
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History-making Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika from Kenya defends her World Boxing Council (WBC) super-bantamweight title against Zambia’s Catherine Phiri in a Bigger Than Life Entertainment Mac Series fight at the Carnivore, Nairobi Saturday.

The 35-year-old Zarika, who now boasts 29 wins, 12 loses and two draws (29-12-2), beat Jamaican Alicia Ashley Zarika in split points decision on October 1, last year in Michigan, USA, to win the belt and make history as the first Kenyan to win a WBC title.

Two Kenyan female boxers have unsuccessfully vied for the WBC crown in different categories before.

Jane Kavulani lost to Anita Christensen for the WBC female bantamweight title in 2008 before taking a shot at the vacant WBC female super lightweight title against Polish Ewa Piatkowska in 2015.

Celebrated Conjestina “Hands of Stone” Achieng became the first Kenyan female boxer to take a shot at the WBC title for the middleweight title but lost on points to Yvonne Reis of USA in 2006.

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Achieng later in 2008 unsuccessfully battled Germany boxer Natascha Ragosina for the combined WBC female super middleweight and WBA female super middleweight titles.

On the other hand, Phiri is a former WBC bantamweight champion, having relinquished the title to Mexican Mariana Juarez in a controversial unanimous decision on April 1, this year in Mexico City.

Phiri, who had defended the WBC title twice, had only lost once in 12 bouts before Mariana did the damage.

Phiri’s last bout was against Tanzanian Flora Machela whom she knocked out on July 2, this year in Dola, Zambia.

Zarika also knocked out Machela in her last warm up bout on February 18 in Nairobi ahead of her WBC title defence.

Phiri, 30 also made history as the first African woman to win the WBC world title when she outclassed Mexican Yazmin Rivas for the WBC bantamweight title on January 30, 2016.

That was eight months after she failed in her bid for the same belt against Christina McMahon on May 2, 2016.

“My fists will do the talking as usual,” said Zarika. “Let my opponent prepare for a different Zarika, who has an upright stance unlike before.”