NEWSROOM (ADV) – Kenyan titleholder Fatuma Zarika and Zambian challenger Catherine Phiri promised an epic battle for their World Boxing Council (WBC) women’s super bantamweight title bout in Nairobi on Saturday.
The boxers were speaking on Friday after making the cut for the fight after tipping the scales at 55Kgs each during the weigh-in for the scheduled 12-round bout at a Nairobi hotel.
Zarika and Phiri will face off in a rematch of their bloody WBC title fight the Kenyan won 3-0 on unanimous decision on December 2, 2017 with the home favorite putting her belt on the line for the third time since October 2016 when she beat Jamaican Alicia Ashley in New York to clinch the title.
“I would like to thank my fans and I’m grateful you are all here. I’m great, there is no need to talk much, we can only go to the ring and do our talking there,” the 34 year-old Zarika told journalists.
She was accompanied for the mandatory weigh-in by retired WBC cruiserweight champion and British boxing star, Tony Bellew besides John McNally and Declan O’Rourke who coached her for her latest title fight in Britain.
“I’m grateful to be here. It’s not about the boxers but the children this event will inspire. All organizations going out there to help the children and develop the sport. She is ready to go for 25 rounds, insanely driven and motivated. These guys (McNelly, O’Rouke) have been amazing fighters during their time.
“I’m just excited and I can’t wait to experience the Nairobi atmosphere. I wish both fighters well and to Phiri fighters do not give excuses, they go there and do what they have to do,” Bellew added.
On their side, the Phiri camp believes their boxer will carry the day after claiming biased judgment in the first meeting two years ago.
“Thank you so much to the Kenyan fans and I’m here for the second time. Last time, I said it’s going to be fire for fire and you so what happened. This time, this is going to be nuclear for nuclear. Do not come late because if you do, you might miss out on the action,” the 32 year-old former WBC Bantamweight champion said.
South African WBC commissioner for the title fight, Peter Ngatane then led both fighters to the scales and much to the relief of both camps after a spot of haggling; both made their weight class, clearing the last hurdle before the main business on Saturday night.
“Kenya used to be a powerhouse in boxing in the old days. We had powerful activity in Kenya. I’m very excited that the sport of boxing is being revived in Kenya,” Ngatane said.
“What makes me more proud, is these days we have buzz around female athletes and I’m so happy that they have decided to have the major fight a female fight and the undercard male. It gives female boxing a great platform,” the long-serving WBC and Africa Boxing Union official underscored.
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