Ducor Sports Star of the Week
Spotlight on Fatuma Zarika, the World Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title holder.
After eight months out of action, Kenyan boxer Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika knocked off the ring rust to outthink and outbox Mexican Yamelith Mercado when she scored a unanimous 10-round points decision to retain her World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight belt at Kenyatta International Convectional Centre on Saturday night.
Judge Eddie Papoe (Ghana) scored it 96-94 while Bena Kaloki (Kenya) and Francis Chirwa (Malawi) had it 97-93 and 99-91 respectively.
There was very little action in the first two rounds with both fighters tentative and working for openings.
Mercado (45.5kg) tended to drop his hands at times and was caught with right hooks to the head in rounds three and four with Zarika possibly shading the rounds.
Fighting from behind a tight defense throughout, Zarika proved too slick for Mercado who threw wild punches and missed badly throughout the fight.
However, Referee Simon Mukadi was forced to intervene on several occasions after the boxers put each other on the ropes during the tactical contest.
The Mexican possibly did enough to share a couple of rounds and possibly also shaded the last two rounds against her fourteen-year older opponent who was tiring fighting with her mouth open.
The bout was Zarika’s 43rd fight, with her tally extending to 31 wins, 12 losses and 2 draws. She first won the World Boxing Council title last December by beating Zambian Catherine Phiri in a unanimous decision.
Who is Fatuma Zarika?
[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Waking up every day knowing I had to walk to the gym to seek a brighter future for my family and I motivated me to want to wake up the following day to do it again. I had a strong sense of belief that it would all pay off one day.”[/perfectpullquote]
Fatuma was born on 13th of March 1985 in Satellite, Nairobi. She speaks English and Kiswahili fluently. Her mother was born in Uganda and later moved to Kenya where she was married, but later separated when Fatuma was barely seven years old.
She attended Kabiria Primary School but was unable to further her studies after completing primary school due to poverty.
That situation forced her to fend for herself and the family at a tender age, exposing her to the hard life in the capital.
When she turned 19, Zarika moved to her cousin’s estate in Nairobi’s South B estate, in an attempt to seek greener pastures for her and daughter Sophia, whom she got at a very tender age.
That is where her quest to venture into the world of sports began with a start in football, though that did not pan out well for her.
At some point, she met former Kenya boxing champion, Conjestina Achieng’, who introduced her into boxing. That’s how she got into boxing and has since gone on to build a name for herself.
In an interview after retaining her title, Fatuma said this about her success story:
“Waking up every day knowing I had to walk to the gym to seek a brighter future for my family and I motivated me to want to wake up the following day to do it again. I had a strong sense of belief that it would all pay off one day.”