Zarika overcomes Mercado to retain WBC title


Fatuma Zarika reacts after she was declared the winner. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – In what was a tight contest, Kenyan boxer Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika successfully defended her World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight title after overcoming tough challenge from Mexican Yamelith Mercado at a packed Comesa Grounds of the Kenyatta International Convention Center on Saturday night.

In the 10 rounds bout, the Mexican handed Zarika a stiff challenge but at the end of the fight, the Kenyan got more points from two judges who gave her 97 and 99 while the first judge handed Mercado 96 which was more than Zarika who got 94.

At the end Zarika was announced the winner by the South African referee in a splitting decision of 94-96, 97-93, 99-91.

Fatuma Zarika take on Yamileth Mercado in WBC Super Bantam bout at KICC Comesa Grounds. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Zarika, who was accompanied to the event by her younger brother Harambee Stars defender, Musa Mohamed who guided Kenya to victory over Ghana earlier in the day, thanked the fans for turning out in large numbers to encourage her.

“I thank all my fans who came here tonight. I’m nothing without you, I won because of you. When the fight started, I first wanted to gauge how she would fight and she was good at evading my punches,” Zarika said.

The result saw Zarika extend her win to 30, 12 draws and two losses.

Fatuma Zarika jab bleeding Mercado Yamileth. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

The event was graced by Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa who was a boxer in her days, Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, nominated Member of Parliament Isaac Mwaura and Kenya’s athletics legend Tegla Loroupe.

The big fight dubbed ‘Nairobi Night Fight’ was curtain raised by undercards with the first one seeing George Onyango beat Fred Nyekesa in the lightweight before Charity Mukami and Florence Muthoni battled it out.

Kenyan female boxer Fatuma Zarika retains her WBC Superbantam Weight title. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

However, it is Olympian Okwiri who lit the crowd after taking only two rounds to Technically Knock Out Ugandan Patrick Amoti in the men’s middleweight category.

“I don’t see this fight lasting past four rounds,” Okwiri said before the fight.

ALEX ISABOKE :@alexisaboke is the Sports Editor at Capital FM. He has over 10 years of journalism experience in electronic and print media. Find him on the pitch, track, court, course, pool...