NAROBI, Kenya-World Boxing Council (WBC) Super bantamweight champion, Fatuma Zarika sized up her Zambian challenger, Catherine Phiri on Thursday and declared it was time for her ‘Iron Fist’ to do the talking.
The pair will fight for the title on Saturday in Nairobi as they squared up at a pre-fight press conference at the Canivore Grounds where the Kenyan will put her title on the line.
“This will be my first fight since I adopted the name late last year. I was inspired by the movie by the same name. I loved the way the star kept knocking everyone down with his right-hand he branded Iron Fist,” Zarika told SportPesa News.
“If you have chosen a name, make sure you live up to its billing. So, to make my fists strong I engaged two US boxers who helped me with great sparring lessons.
“They increased the speed work of my shadow boxing, I can now spar for ten minutes non-stop unlike before when I could only last for three minutes,” Zarika added.
“I want Phiri to feel what my hands are made of. I want the fans to be thrilled and I’m eager to bring back the glory days of boxing where spectators shouted themselves hoarse and cheered at every jab thrown in the ring.
“I want the fans to be on the edge of their seats all throughout,” the Kenyan pledged.
She cautioned her opponent against expecting much movement as she promised to rain blows on the Zambian.
Unlike the past when she struggled to honour her fights, Zarika is grateful to leading bookmakers SportPesa for catering for her preparations for the mega fight that included a two-month training stint in United States.
She urged the Government, through its Ministry for Sports, Culture and the Arts to support her and fellow local boxers in the same manner as America.
“I also urge women to embrace boxing. We are very few in this game at the moment. I want them to know that this game has capability to open great opportunities that one can never imagine. Wajiamini (believe in themselves)!” Zarika emphasised.
“It is only important that I win this belt, I want to tell Zarika it will be fireworks. I will have no mercy on her,” the soft-spoken Phiri responded as she bids for another WBC crown after losing the bantamweight title earlier this year in Mexico.
The Kenyan titleholder will be putting her belt on the line for the first time since her scheduled rematch against Jamaican Alicia Ashley whom she dethroned last year failed to take place in July.
Fight Card (all times +3GMT)
Michael Odhiambo (Kenya) Vs Amos Mwamakula (Tanzania) 8 rounds (Featherweight) – 7:00pm
Anisha Basheel (Malawi) Vs Consolata Musanga (Kenya) 10 rounds (ABU Super Lightweight Title) – 7:30pm
Carl Davis Jr. (USA) Vs Mbaruku Kheri (Tanzania) 6 rounds (Heavyweight) – 8:10pm
Cosmas Cheka (Tanzania) Vs Kenneth Kidega (Uganda) 8 rounds (Super Featherweight)- 8:30pm
Rayton Okwiri (Kenya) Vs Gutram Ngoya (Tanzania) 6 rounds (Middleweight)- 9:00pm
Gabriel Ochieng (Kenya) Vs Mohammed Kamburuta (Tanzania) 10 rounds (Lightweight) -9:20pm
James Onyango (Kenya) Vs Saidi Mundi (Tanzania) 12 rounds (WBF Welterweight, Title Fight) – 10:00pm
Israel Kamwamba (Malawi) Vs Anderson Sifuna (Kenya) 6 rounds (Featherweight) – 11:00pm
Zarika Fatuma (Kenya) Vs Catherine Phiri (Zambia) 10 rounds (WBC Super Bantamweight Title) – 11:40pm