After years of weeping, crying and gnashing of teeth, Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika has something to smile about.
Finally, after three years of wait, she's expected to defend her World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Featherweight title.
Zarika defeated Patience Mastara of Zimbabwe on unanimous points decision (98-92,97-93, 98-91) to lift the coveted title in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in November 2020.
The two-time World Boxing Council (WBC) World Super Bantam champion will defend the glittering belt in a 10-round duel on October 27 in Nairobi when she comes face-to-face with decorated Tanzanian pugilist Fatuma Omari.
The high-octane fight night, dubbed 'Betika Ultra Fight Series Boxing', will be held at the Broadwalk Mall along Ojijo Road in Parklands.
Also in the 11 bouts card, which are promoted by Maurice Odera of Ultra Fight Series Boxing, will be the World Alliance Boxing Association (WABA) Intercontinental Super Bantamweight title fight pitting Albert Kimario against Grey Chimkwapulo of Malawi.
Zarika feels she’s done her homework well and is just waiting to make it happen.
“I’m happy that finally, I’ll be defending the title at home. I have used the almost three-year sabbatical from the ring to keep fit. I’m not burnt out,” said Zarika, who trains at Vision Plaza Gym, along Mombasa Road, under coach Marvin Obuya.
“I have done a lot of load work; running, lifting weights and endless sparring. I’ll now focus my energy on speed, footwork and self-defense to furnish my tactics in the remaining days,” Zarika said.
Zarika insists she will not spare time to study Omari as this will give her unnecessary pressure, but she is promising her fans a show to remember.
“I urge my supporters to come early and in large numbers. I will not let them down because this belt will go nowhere. I promise Omari will see ‘bad things’ in the ring,” warned Zarika.
Zarika is among the three Kenyan women to have ever won a WBF title, others being Conjestina ‘Hands of Stone’ Achieng and Sarah ‘Angel of War’ Achieng.
Zarika strongly believes defending the WBF belt will give her an opportunity to reclaim her WBC World Super Bantam title for the third time.
Her sentiments have been supported by Odera, who hinted that engaging Zarika is just the beginning of big things under his stable.
“Actually, our aim is to go for the WBC, so we want to give Zarika one more run because she’s currently the biggest name in Kenya’s boxing. We also want to anchor upcoming boxers like Kimario on her fame,” Odera said.
The promoter assured that the main fight on the card will live up to its billing because Zarika’s opponent Omari has impressive records apart from being an aggressive fighter and a puncher par excellence.
“Omari has been challenging Zarika over the years, so we have finally decided to honour the quest and pit the two against each other, it will be a fight to remember,” said Odera.
While thanking gaming firm Betika for the support Odera said: “Zarika has been inactive for years. She’s been looking for a promoter who can help her defend the title, but the belt is very expensive. The sanctioning fees are quite expensive and many promoters shy away, but we are glad that we got a sponsor.”
The fight tickets are available online on ticketsasa.com. General advance tickets are retailing at Sh1,000 and Sh1,500 at the gate, while ringside VIP advance tickets go for Sh3,500 and Sh4500 at the gate.
Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika Tale of The Tape
Total Fights: 48
Wins: 33 (17KOs)