Zarika rules ring with iron fist
Fatuma retains the WBC title thanks to a unanimous points decision.
World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight champion Fatuma Zarika retained her crown after she defeated Zambian Catherine Phiri at the Carnivore in Nairobi on Saturday night.
Zarika, who is popularly known as “the iron fist”, won the close contest through a unanimous points decision of 97-92, 98-91 and 99-92 from the three international judges.
The victory extended Zarika’s win record to 30, 17 of which have been through knock-outs. The defending champion, who won the coveted belt in the US last year, dominated the first three rounds of the global duel.
There were tense moments for the partisan crowd in the fifth round when the Zambian landed an uppercut that left Zarika bloodied.
The cut slowed down the champion’s pursuit of top honours but after she attended to by her doctors, the Kenyan pugilist recovered to unleash a flurry of jabs. On sensing danger, the Zambian, who was tiring, backed off to the ropes before she was saved by the bell.
From then on, Zarika soldiered on to win the 10 round-contest.
“I’m happy to have retained the belt, which proved that I have been preparing well,” Zarika said.
Phiri admitted that her opponent was superior and promised to challenge her for the WBC crown next year.
In earlier curtain-raiser matches, American Carl Davis Jr knocked out Tanzanian Mbaruku Kheri in the third round of the heavyweight bout.
Former Amateur Professional Boxing (APB) pugilist Rayton Okwiri of Kenya registered his second professional victory when he defeated Tanzanian Gutram Ngoya through a unanimous points decision.
Okwiri registered 60-54, 60-54 and 60-54 in the six-round middleweight non-title fight.
In the Super Lightweight bout, Malawi’s Anisha Basheel knocked out Kenyan Consolata Musanga to be named the Africa Boxing Union champion.
James Onyango clinched the World Boxing Federation welterweight belt through a unanimous points decision of 118-104,120-107 and 116-109 against Saidi Mundi of Tanzania in the 10-round contest.
In another fight, Kenya’s Anderson Sifuna lost through unanimous points to Israel Kamwamba of Malawi in the featherweight contest.
The judges returned a 60-54, 60-54 and 70-54 verdict for Kamwamba.