Zarik ready defend WBF World Super Featherweight title

Standing behind: Femme Combat Fest co-founders Catherine Kibuchi (second left) and Lorna Abiero (second right) together with Fatuma Zarika (centre) and other players watch a demonstration between Rael Ashubwe and Sally Ajema during the launch of Femme Combat Fest 2024 in Nairobi, on Thursday. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Fatuma 'Iron Fist' Zarika is looking forward to a new productive season, among them defending her World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Featherweight title.

Her other desire is to reclaim her WBC female super-bantamweight belt which she is not sure will ever happen due to the dodginess of her opponent,Yamileth Mercado's camp.

"I have really tried calling for a rematch, but they are not comfortable with it, they seem scared," Zarika, who held the WBC title between 2016-2019, told Standard Sports.

As she is still waiting for direction from her promoter for her line up for the year, Zarika continues with her daily training because she believes she can defend her WBF title anytime.

She is hopeful that she will not struggle to get a sponsor to finance the title defence the way it happened last season.

"I'm supposed to defend the title by April or May, I hope everything will work out so well this year because last time the world governing body extended me a grace period to look for sponsors," says Zarika.

Unlike her last title defence which she floored Fatuma Omari of Tanzania in a one-sided show to win on Technical Knockout in the fourth round of the ten round duel in Nairobi, Zarika says this round she is prepared to defend the WBF belt anywhere in the world.

"Right now I know myself better, it doesn't matter whether I'll fight in Europe or South Africa, I'm experienced to bring the belt back home," Zarika reiterated.

Zarika was speaking in Nairobi on Thursday night during the launch of Femme Combat Fest (FCF), an initiative meant to celebrate women in the martial arts.

Zarika is encouraging women and girls to embrace combat sports as a means of self defence, especially during this time that Kenya is experiencing a surge in femicide.

"The FCF is dedicated to showcasing the incredible talent, strength and resilience of female athletes in various combat disciplines.

"As we strive to promote gender equality, empowerment and the fight against femicide, this event serves as a platform to amplify the voices of women in martial arts sports and drive positive social change," FCF representative Lona Abiero stated.

The event also featured keynote addresses from the organisers, panel discussions on gender equality, empowerment, and the role of martial arts in the society, interactive demonstrations and exhibitions by female athletes and networking opportunities with athletes, organisers, and sponsors.

By AFP 16 hrs ago
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