Zarika hits Las Vegas ahead of Phiri WBC showdown

WBC champ Fatuma Zarika during a training session. (PHOTO/Courtesy)
WBC champ Fatuma Zarika during a training session. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

Kenya’s Super Bantamweight Women champion Fatuma Zarika is embarking on an intensive training programme in Las Vegas, ahead of her title defense on November 2 in Nairobi.

Zarika left for the USA on Tuesday for preparations for her looming showdown against former World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Catherine Phiri of Zambia who will be gunning to wrestle the title off her waist.

Zarika is expected to start training at Berry’s Boxing Gym in LA for a period of up to two months ahead of the highly anticipated bout.

“I’m optimistic with the preparation and when I come back for the encounter I will retain my title. I have never fought Phiri nor attended any live fight she’s involved in. I watched her fights on YouTube and that helps me identify her weakness,” Fatuma told Citizen Digital.

The 32-year-old old made history last year in October when she became the first Kenyan pugilist to win the prestigious WBC world title after defeating veteran Alicia Ashley from Jamaica on points.

With the remarkable feat, Zarika improved her record to 28 wins, two draws and 12 losses. Ashley, 49, the oldest all-time world champion now has 23 wins, a draw and 11 losses.

Her November opponent, Phiri made history of her own after becoming the first female Zambian and African to win the coveted WBC title after dethroning  ex champion, Mexican Yazmin “Rusita” Rivas last year who won by a majority technical decision at the end of the sixth round.

Zarika, the Kenyan heavy hitter will be training in US as she looks to tap into their sophisticated training facilities and knowledge of the sport.

Welterweight African Boxing Union (ABU) Champion James Onyango who faced an experienced Filipino professional hitter Jason Pagaran in Philippines and settled for a draw will also feature in the Nairobi card

Olympian and Kenya prison boxer Rayton Okwiri who won his professional boxing debut over Salehe Mkalekwa from Tanzania has however not confirmed whether he will be participating in the event that is scheduled to  feature ten events.

Moreover, Okwiri is scheduled for his second professional boxing on October 14 in Washington DC.

-Report by Erastus Muturi.

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