Mike Ratemo @PeopleSports11
It is all systems go for Kenya’s World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantam weight defending champion Fatuma Zarika as she jets home from her US training base to face title challenger, Zambia’s Catherine Phiri.
Zarika who has been undergoing intense training facilitated by betting powerhouse SportPesa in Las Vegas under coach James Hurley, will defend her crown at Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi on December 2.
The much-anticipated bout promoted by ‘Bigger Than Life’ Entertainment will see Phiri, try to recapture the crown from bookies favourite Zarika who beat Jamaican Alicia Ashley to the WBC title, becoming the first Kenyan woman to achieve the feat.
“Zarika has been going through a comprehensive training regimen for the last two months ahead of her title defence. It involves morning runs and weight lifting in the evening. She does a lot of sparring too,” said her manager Ejay Mathews.
“With her experience and repertoire including the East and Central African Professional Boxing Federation Featherweight (2010) and the International Boxing Federation World Super Bantamweight crowns in 2007 and 2008, the title should be hers for the taking,” Mathews exuded confidence.
Mathews who took Zarika under his wing in his ‘Bigger than Life’ stable, disclosed that the endurance training has helped Zarika sharpen on speed and defensive parts of her game, key factors to outwit an opponent in the ring.
“The training has made her better, stronger and more accurate than when she triumphed over Ashley last year to lift the title. From our camp we hope that come December 2, she will give her fans an early Christmas present,” Mathews said.
Zarika will face off with Phiri for the first time, after the latter was slotted to substitute Ashley, as a supposed rematch for the WBC title with the former being shelved due to contractual issues.