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Zarika: I’m happy I lost to Mexican boxer Mercado

Last updated 7 months ago | By Ben Ahenda

Super Bantam Weight Fatuma Zarika, 34 years and Yemileth Mercado (left) of Mexico during Nairobi night fight at lower COMESA grounds, KICC, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Ranting Kenyan boxer says she owes no one any apology for losing battle.

When sports personalities lose a match, the pain and anguish is always telling, but for Kenyan boxer Fatuma Zarika, she was happy she lost to Mexican Yamileth Mercado.

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Zarika lost the World Boxing Council super-bantamweight title to her Mexican rival in a rematch bout in Chihuahua, Mexico yesterday morning.

In a post-bout interview on social media, Zarika says that she’s happy the belt remained in Mexico because she got no help from anyone as she prepared for the fight.

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“Nimekaa na hiyo belt miaka nne. Na hakuna kitu mzuri ishaikuja except SportPesa. Government haitaki kushughulika, afadhali mshipi ibaki Mexico, mahali ambapo watai take care,” she said. (For four years, I’ve held the title and the only good thing I’ve received was help from Sportpesa. The government did not do anything, so, it’s better the belt remains in Mexico where they can take good care of it).

According to former Commonwealth professional flyweight boxing champion Steve Muchoki, Zarika lacked proper coaching, which led to poor footwork and defence in the 10-round match.

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“Mercado was always sharp on target in the first seven rounds only for the Kenyan boxer to make a comeback in the eighth round, which was too late to convince the judges on her victory,” Muchoki said.

The same sentiments were echoed by Hungarian-trained Nakuru ABC coach Carlos Muthee Mwangi.

“She (Zarika) was an easy target as she allowed the Mexican to clinch an easy victory without any stiff opposition,” said Mwangi.

Zarika was in search of her 32nd victory. She has 13 losses and two draws while Mercado has improved her record to 13 wins and two loses from 21 bouts.

It was sweet victory for the 21-year-old Mexican, who claimed she had been denied victory when the two boxers met last September at Kenya International Convention Centre, in Nairobi.

At that time, Zarika won on unanimous points of 96-94, 97-93 and 99-91 awarded by judges Eddie Papoe of Ghana, Kenya’s Bena Kaloki and Francis Chirwa of Malawi.

In yesterday’s fight, Mercado won on unanimous points’ decision of 99-91, 98-92 and 99-91.

However, the 36-year-old Zarika has a chance for a rematch against Mercado in 90 days as stipulated in their contract signed before the bout.

When Zarika lifted the title last year against Mercado, it was her second title defence fight having earlier beaten Phiri on December 2, 2017 before they (Zarika and Phiri) met again on March 23 in Nairobi, where Zarika won on unanimous points decision.

Yesterday, said Zarika felt cheated after being ignored by the government following the withdrawal of her sponsors, Sportpesa.