Fatuma Zarika lands in Mexico ready for Mercado in WBC bout

By Ben Ahenda: Thursday, November 14th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Boxing
Kenya's Fatuma Zarika retained her WBC Superbantam weight title against Catherine Phiri of Zambia in Nairobi on 2. [File]

The World Boxing Council bantamweight women champion Fatuma Zarika is confident to retain the title in a WBC-rematch against Mexican Yamileth Mercado in Chihuahua, Mexico, on Saturday.

Zarika, who travelled alongside her two coaches and Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) Secretary-General Francis Imbenzi arrived in Mexico City on Monday night.

Upon arrival, Zarika embarked on light training under the two coaches Jared Aseka and Roy Kwavi.

They were set to take a flight to Chihuahua yesterday to acclimatise ahead of the tussle.

Yesterday, Imbenzi said the world champion was in good shape and nothing will stop her from overcoming the Mexican whom she had dismissed in their first title fight in Nairobi last year in unanimous points decision.

“Since our arrival here (Mexico City) all has been well and Zarika is in good shape and determined to see the belt returns to Kenya although Mercado takes the homeground advantage,” Imbenzi told Standard Sports from Mexico City before heading to Chihuahua.

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Last week, Zarika said failure to train abroad had affected her morale and confidence but was quick to point out that it will not affect her ego in her quest to defendthe title against the Mexican.

“Training abroad is advantageous as it exposed me to advanced facilities under experienced foreign coaches giving us the inspiration and confidence in a crucial match,” Zarika had told Standard Sports in reference to her earlier two month training in Manchester in United Kingdom.

Zarika boasts 32 Technical Knockouts, 12 knockouts and two losses from 46 fights from the time she joined the paid ranks in 2003.

After touching down in Chihuahua, Imbenzi said: “If Zarika inspires the way she did while in residential training, then the belt is ours to lose at her (Mercado’s) backyard”.

Prior to meeting Mercado for the first time in Nairobi, Zarika had dismissed Zambian Catherine Phiri at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on a technical knockout.

Imbenzi said the long flight had not affected them as the boxer was in right hands and in good shape.

Kenya Professional Boxing Commission chairman Rueben Ndolo will join the party tomorrow according to Imbenzi.

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