World Boxing Commission (WBC) champion Fatuma Zarika expects a difficult fight when she takes to the ring for her Super bantamweight title defense against Jamaican Alicia Ashley on June 30, in Dallas, Texas, USA.
This will be a repeat of last year’s clash between the pair where Zarika dethroned the Jamaican via a split decision at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint in Michigan, the US and became the first Kenyan pugilist to claim the prestigious title.
But as she prepares for the highly anticipated bout, the 31 year old stylish orthodox stance boxer who shifted her training base to US six weeks ago, is wary of Ashley’s revenge mission.
“Of course this going to be a very tough fight for both of us, but a great fight for the fans. Both of us have different targets. While I am focusing on defending the title, Alicia will be out to revenge last year's defeat,” said Zarika from her training base at Berry’s Boxing Gym, Las Vegas.
Despite the hype surrounding the fight, an extremely motivated Sportpesa-sponsored mother of two is looking forward to retain her title.
“She (Alicia) is a former champion and I know what she capable of. But having been in US for the last six weeks I am extremely motivated and prepared for the challenge. She is of course coming out with everything she has, but I am confident I will handle her,” she added.
Asked on how excited and motivated she is after last week's meeting with her role model legendary Mike Tyson, Zarika said:
“It is always great to have a change of environment and that’s how I came to meet Tyson. “I was more than pleased to have met Tyson, one of the celebrated boxers in the game’s history whom I have only been watching on television. We had a lengthy talk, but he promised to visit me in the gym this week before the fight. It was really motivating and I am looking forward to meeting him again.’’