Boxing Boxing

Behind the lens: Zarika, Okwiri wow the crowd in epic fight

Mexican boxer Yamileth Mercado scores against Kenya’s Fatuma Zarika in the WBC Superbantam weight bout in Nairobi on Saturday night. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

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.

Ugandan Patrick Amoti reacts on the Canvas after receiving a heavy jab from Okwiri in the men’s middleweight category. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Amoti did not score a single point forcing the South African referee Steve Vedo to stop the fight after the Ugandan was floored twice.

Referee Steve Vedo count for Patrick Amoti to stop the fight. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
South African referee Steve Vedo signals to stop the fight after Ugandan Patrick Amoti felt the weight and was unable to continue the fight. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

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.

Rayton Okwiri, who trains in the United States gave Patrick Amoti no chance. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
Rayton Okwiri jab Patrick Amoti in their bout. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

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.

Charity Mukami against Florence Muthoni. Photo/RAYMOND ,MAKHAYA
Fred Nyakesa jabs George Onyango in a curtain Raiser bout. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

After the undercards, fans were gearing up for the big fight as they were kept entertained by artists including Wayre the Love child.

Fans eagerly waiting for the big fight. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
Fans rallying behind Fatuma Zarika. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

-Anticipated fight-

The moment everybody was waiting came and its Mercado who came into the ring first accompanied by her coach and father.

Mexican Mercado heading to the ring for the fight. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

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.

Zarika was escorted by brother Musa Mohamed into the ring. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

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.

Round nine of the bout. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Mercado started the first round on a high, scoring over Zarika to silence the fans for the first time.

Fatuma Zarika take on Yamileth Mercado in WBC Super Bantam Bout at KICC. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
Fatuma Zarika after the second round. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Zarika, who found no space to throw jabs, picked up to dominate the bout, leaving Mexican bleeding.

Fatuma Zarika jab bleeding Mercado Yamileth. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
Yamileth Mercado walk out after the sixth round with bleeding. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

To show sportsmanship, Mercado hugged Zarika after the fight as they awaited the announcement.

Fatuma Zarika and Yamileth Mercado embrace after 10th round. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

After a very tight contest Zarika was declared the winner, retaining her title infront of home crowd.

Fatuma Zarika reacts after she was declared the winner. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
Zarika happy after retaining her WBC title. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Zarika was congratulated by her daughter.

Zarika congratulated by her daughter. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The event was attended by various dignitaries including Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa who was a former boxer.

Sports CS Rashid Echesa and his PS Kaberia were part of the crowd. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr was also in attendance and could not hide his joy.

Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr rally behind Fatuma Zarika. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Mexican ambassador to Kenya was in the house to rally support behind her country woman Mercado.

Mexico Ambassador make a speech. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA
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