James Magayi @magayijim
World Boxing Council (WBC) Super bantamweight women champion, Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika is the StarTimes/SJAK sports personality of the month for December 2017. Zarika beat chess ace, Joyce Nyaruai, and Safari rally speedster, Carl Tundo, to be the sixth recipient of the coveted monthly prize.
A panel of journalists following her successful title defence against Zambian Catherine Phiri at the Carnivore Grounds in Nairobi on December 2 unanimously voted the 34-year-old pugilist. Zarika won the brutal bout on points after she scored 97-92, 98-91 and 99-92 from the three international judges who presided over the fight.
The victory in front of an adoring home support extended her win record to 30, of which 17 have been via knockouts. The victory saw Zarika bestowed Head of State Commendation (HSC) honour by President Uhuru Kenyatta as Kenya celebrated her 54th Jamhuri Day last year. “I was happy to retain the belt. The win was an inspiration that hard work pays in the end.
I’m hoping to defend the title again this year,” said Zarika who was the only sportsperson on the HSC list. Other athletes who have been honoured with the SJAK/StarTimes award are Simon Kibai Cherono (Deaflympics), Helen Obiri (athletics), Janet Okelo (rugby), Ismail Changawa (Tennis) and Edith Wisa (volleyball).
Zarika received the monthly award on Thursday at the Taj Mall Gymnasium in Nairobi where she is currently stepping up training ahead of another title defence later this year. “This is a great surprise, thank you StarTimes for being the sponsors and SJAK for considering me for this prize.
This truly goes a long way to inspire and motivate me to work harder. It is also an inspiration to other boxers,” she underlined. The mother of two walked away with a trophy, StarTimes 42-inch digital television set and Sh100, 000.