#NairobiFightNight – Fatuma Zarika’s victory told in 10 pictures
World Boxing Council (WBC) women Super bantamweight champion, Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika crowned the second edition of Nairobi Fight Night by surviving a furious assault from Zambian challenger, Catherine Phiri to retain her title with a unanimous 3-0 victory on Saturday night.
In a rematch of their brutal encounter two years ago, Zarika was pushed all the way before she held on to her crown at a jam-packed dome set at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) grounds with the judges, Michael Neequaye, Fillemon Mweya and Irene Semakula returning 98-92 99-91 97-93 to spark wild celebrations among the home crowd on a hot Nairobi night.
Phiri was out first to the ageless chart buster ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor with Zarika keeping her challenger waiting for five minutes as the home crowd stood, wailing and screaming for her entrance, creating a cauldron inside the large tented dome that covered the ring.
Eventually, the home girl came out and the venue erupted and when the bell went for the opening round, both combatants seized each other up with the Zambian, who was keen on revenging her 3-0 defeat on unanimous decision on December 2, 2017 attacking Zarika.
As the fight progressed, it became clear that this was not going to be a walk in the park for either boxer, with Zarika edging the third, fifth and eighth rounds with Phiri enjoying the upper hand in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth.
The tension inside the auditorium had reached fever pitch but at the start of the ninth, the champion sprung to life and invited chants of ‘Zarika ua! (Zarika kill) from her faithful but Phiri refused to be knocked off her stride.
A roar went up before the start of the 10th when ring announcer, Maurice ‘Mdomo Baggy’ Ochieng’ announced the scorecard after eight rounds as mandated by WBC rules that showed Zarika leading 3-0 (79-73, 79-73 and 77-75) on all the judges cards.
Phiri knew she had to go for the knockout and came charging, trying to open up Zarika’s defence but the Kenyan held on to pull off another hard-fought victory that extended her record to 32 wins, 12 loses and two draws, as both fighters embraced at the end of another absorbing showdown.
Here's Zarika's win told in pictures:
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