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Zarika banking on experience to floor Phiri

Fatuma Zarika faces off with Zambian opponent Catherine Phiri during the weigh in ahead of their fight in Nairobi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Reigning World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight champion Fatuma Zarika has vowed to use her vast experience to floor Zambian Phiri when the two clash for her title defense at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on Saturday night.

Zarika floored the Zambian when the two clashed in their first meeting in December 2017 by a unanimous decision and believes she will do even better in their second meeting.

“I can’t say much. She is a boxer, I am a boxer. In the ring, you should expect anything but you must go in and show that you can box. I have experience, but she doesn’t. I will use my experience to beat her and show on the ring that I am a better boxer,” Zarika told Capital Sport after her weigh in on Friday afternoon.

Zarika, just like her Zambian opponent Phiri weighed exactly 55kg at the scale on Friday and fell in within the required weight of 55.7kg.

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

The pugilist nicknamed ‘Iron Fist’ has been training in the United Kingdom over the past month preparing for the fight, sharpening her blows in the same stable as Englishman Tony bellew.

“Training there has been immense for me because I have been able to improve especially because there you get good sparring partners who mould you to become better. I have learnt a lot in that period and I feel like I am a better boxer,” further stated Zarika.

She also trained there before the first engagement with Phiri as well as prior to her fight with Mexican Yermileth Mercado last September.

Bellew who has been present at her training base in Liverpool is confident she will be in good shape to floor down Phiri and defend her title for the second consecutive time.

“She is an amazing boxer, insanely driven and motivated. Even if the fight was to go for 25 rounds she would handle it. I am proud of how far she has come and I wish her the best tomorrow,” Bellew, a former WBC Cruiserweight world champion said.

Phiri, 32, will be looking to reclaim the title after losing it two years ago and believes she has prepared well to make amends for her loss in 2017.

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Zarika congratulated by her daughter. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

“Last time I said it would be fore to fire… this time, it will be nuclear to nuclear. I have prepared well for this fight and I want to tell the fans to come early. If they are late, they might miss the fight,” Phiri said, insinuating she will be blowing in for a knockout of the Kenyan infront of her own home fans.

Zarika said she picked lessons from the first meeting between the two and has promised to do things better to have more control of the bout.

“The first time we met, I didn’t have speed as much as I required. This time, I have improved on my speed and also worked on my footwork abit. I am okay now and ready for the fight,” she said.

The main fight which will be the showstopper will be preceded by several other undercuts.

Tanzanian Hassan Mwakinyo will take on Argentine Sergi Gonzalez in a super welterweight fight, Kenyan Olympian Rayton Okwiri will fist out with Tanzania’s Pascal Bruno in the middleweight, Nicholas Mwangi goes down against another Tanzanian Iddi Mkwera in the super lightweight as home girls Sarah Achieng and Joyce Awino face off in the same weight category.

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