NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – Saturday night epic World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight bout between Kenyan Fatuma Zarika and Mexican Mercado left sweet memories to over 2000 fans who turned up at the Comesa Grounds of KICC not forgetting Rayton Okwiri’s brilliant performance. Here is how the showdown went in pictures.
The fight dubbed the ‘Nairobi Night Fight’ was curtain raised by three undercards, but its Okwiri who rocked the fans, taking only two rounds to Technically Knock Out Ugandan Patrick Amoti in the men’s middleweight category.
Amoti did not score a single point forcing the South African referee Steve Vedo to stop the fight after the Ugandan was floored twice.
Okwiri, who was escorted to the ring by his fellow Kenya Prisons colleagues, wowed the crows who kept on cheering ‘Okwiri…. Okwiri… Okwiri… and indeed the Olympian did not disappoint.
Other Undercards featured Charity Mukami and Florence Muthoni in the women’s lightweight as well as seasoned George Omondi taking on Fred Nyekesa in the men’s lightweight.
After the undercards, fans were gearing up for the big fight as they were kept entertained by artists including Wayre the Love child.
The moment everybody was waiting came and its Mercado who came into the ring first accompanied by her coach and father.
On her part, Zarika was handed a standing ovation when she arrived accompanied by her younger brother Harambee Stars defender Musa Mohamed who carried the WBC Super bantamweight belt.
Mercado surprised many by pushing Zarika up to the last round (10) that saw the Kenyan win in a splitting decision from the judge of 94-96, 97-93, 99-91.
Mercado started the first round on a high, scoring over Zarika to silence the fans for the first time.
Zarika, who found no space to throw jabs, picked up to dominate the bout, leaving Mexican bleeding.
To show sportsmanship, Mercado hugged Zarika after the fight as they awaited the announcement.
After a very tight contest Zarika was declared the winner, retaining her title infront of home crowd.
Zarika was congratulated by her daughter.
The event was attended by various dignitaries including Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa who was a former boxer.
Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr was also in attendance and could not hide his joy.
Mexican ambassador to Kenya was in the house to rally support behind her country woman Mercado.