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Zarika cries foul over her rematch against Mexican Mercado

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | June 5th 2021
Super Bantam Weight Fatuma Zarika, 33 years and Yemileth Mercado (left) of Mexico during Nairobi night fight at lower COMESA grounds, KICC, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Former World Boxing Council super-bantamweight champion Fatuma Zarika is breathing fire over the delay in her rematch against the reigning world champion Yamileth Mercado of Mexico saying it is long overdue.

This is after World Boxing Council approved Mercado’s title defence against compatriot Campeonato Mundial in Mexico City on June 26.

Zarika said it was disheartening to be denied a chance to prove her worth against Mercado whom she had beaten in the past without a defence from Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) at a time she was in good shape to do so.

She said according to her contract, the rematch was to have come in between three to six months after she lost the world title to Mercado in Chihuahua, Mexico on November 15, 2019.

“All could not continue by then (last year) as the world came to standstill due to the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic. But, after things opened up, I wonder why KPBC could not come to my defence against the decision by WBC,” Zarika cried.

She blamed KPBC for not articulating her issues when it comes to serious matches.

But in a swift rejoinder, Kenya Professional Boxing Commission chairman Reuben Ndolo said Zarika’s main predicament lies with her promoters who are the ones mandated to liaise with WBC for the rematch to be fixed.

Kenya's Fatuma Zarika (left) exchange blows with Yemileth Mercado of Mexico during Nairobi night fight at lower COMESA grounds, KICC, Nairobi. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Ndolo said theirs is to sanction the match once it has been fixed by the two parties (boxer’s promoters and WBC).

“Our task is to sanction the match once everything has been agreed on by the two parties (promoters of the boxer and WBC) and ensure everything runs well as required by the law,” Ndolo stated.

In their last match in Chihuahua on November 15, 2019, the Mexican now 23 years (then 21) won with a unanimous points’ decision of 99-91, 98-92 and 99-91, a loss that angered Zarika to throw tantrums of being ignored by the government while the Mexican was well taken care of by her government.

 “I want my fans to know that I have nothing to apologize for. I go through pain. I have been with this title for four years. Nobody has assisted me apart from my sponsors. Since they left, nobody has come to my assistance and the government has abandoned me. The Mexican would rather win because she’s supported by her government,” Zarika had said moments after loss.

She blamed KPBC for not articulating her issues when it comes to serious matches.

On Friday, Zarika said she is ready to face Mercado but appealed to KPBC to support her.

”I’m ready to face her (Mercado) in a rematch if at all my plea is to be heeded by WBC with the support of KPBC. I wonder why it is taking too long before they (WBC and KPBC) can act on what is obvious,” said the former world champion.

WBC Super bantamweight champion, Fatuma Zarika ready for the Nairobi fight night during the weighin in Nairobi on Friday March 22, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

If this can happen in the next two to three months is when the former world champion could take to the ring.

“For now, I’m not ready for the match because my fitness levels are wanting as I need more time to prepare well, which should take two to three months in order to beat her (Mercado),” she observed.

She admitted that her plans had been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Zarika said she has started her training sessions for any eventuality.

Zarika’s ambition to recapture the title comes at a time former Africa Boxing Union super middleweight champion Rayton Okwiri landed a sponsorship deal that has catapulted him to go for training sessions in the United States of America.

Okwiri is expected to take the ring in August.


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