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Zarika stops hard punching Phiri to defend WBC title

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Fatuma Zarika was announced the winner by a unanimous decision to retain her WBC Title fir the third time. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 24 – Kenya’s Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika won a unanimous points decision against hard punching Zambian Catherine Phiri to retain the World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight title for the third successive time in an epic bout on Saturday night at Nairobi’s Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC).

Weaving, bobbing and ducking, Zarika tormented the Zambian with heavy shots to the head before an enthusiast crowd that was also attended by Kenya’s former world boxing super middleweight champion, Conjestina Acheing to ensure the title remains at home.

Kenya veteran boxer Conjestina Achieng congratulates Fatuma Zarika after defending her WBC title. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

A seemingly frustrated Phiri trailed Zarika throughout the 10-round scheduled title fight and appear go for a knocked out which came a cropper.

Judge 1 scored it at 98-92, judge 2 had it 99-91 and judge 3 gave a scoping point of 97-93.

Zambian Catherine Phiri battles it out with defending champion Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika. Photo/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

“This time I was well prepared to defend my title because I have fought Phiri before and I was aware of her threats. Training in United Kingdom has really elevated my performance, I dedicate this win to my coaches. It feels so sweet to beat Phiri twice.Thank you fans for turning out in large numbers and for always supporting me,” Zarika said after the win.

The win saw Zarika improve her pro record to 32 wins being 10 Technical Knock Out wins, 12 loses and three draws while the Zambian dipped to 16 wins and 4 loses.

-Under Cuts- 

In one of the exiting under cuts, Olympian Rayton Okwiri caused raptures among a passionate home crowd when he put seasoned Tanzanian Pascal ‘Prince Kilimanjaro’ Bruno out of his misery with a third round technical knockout.

Earlier, at a packed Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Tanzanian Iddi Mkwera got off the action with a second round technical knockout of home boxer, Nicholas ‘Makaveli’ Mwangi who bitterly protested the decision in a six-round men Super Lightweight non-title affair.

Sarah Achieng’ replicated a similar result in the next fight when she stopped fellow Kenyan Joyce Awino in the third round of their women contest in the same weight division.

Featuring in his fifth professional fight in a non-title eight round men Middleweight clash, Okwiri, 32 extended his record to four wins, two draws and no loss when he set about destroying Bruno, 42, from the opening bell where the Tanzanian kissed the canvas in the closing seconds of the first round before being saved further punishment by the bell.

Spurred on by a chanting home crowd, Okwiri resumed his relentless assault in the second round, turning his opponent into a punching bag before finishing the battle in the opening minute of the third in style when the referee ruled Bruno could not continue any longer.

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