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Mexican test for homegirl Zarika

Mexican boxer Yamileth Mercado has declared that she is unfazed by the home ground advantage her opponent Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika shall be enjoying when the two cross swords in the World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight title fight Saturday night at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC).

For the 20-year-old Marcadio, the fight against the battle-hardened Kenyan will be about imparting a continuous lesson in perseverance for her since she joined the professional ranks at a tender age.

“Home ground advantage may not count much for Zarika. I have had two months camping ahead of the bout and in any case, I believe I will also be spurred on by the Mexicans who reside in Kenya,” said Marcadio.

During weigh-in at Dusit D2 in Nairobi Friday, Marcadio tilted the scales at 55.5kg while Zarika weighed slightly lower at 55kg though both boxers were within the required limits as stipulated in WBC rules.

Zarika flexes her muscles during the weighing at a Nairobi hotel. Zarika will face off with Mexican Yamileth Mercado today at K.I.C.C. Photo/RODGERS NDEGWA

Marcadio is also inspired by the presence of her father Abel Mercado who boldly declared that she is an avid supporter of her daughter as she aims to break through the ranks in the game.

“I am extremely happy to be in Kenya which is a great country with friendly people. I came all the way from Mexico City to cheer Yamileth to victory,” said Abel.

In the meantime, Zarika who is the current holder of the belt said she does not see the reason why she cannot outpoint Mercado hands down in the fight that is sponsored by SportPesa and facilitated by Afribox Promotions under its Director Thomas Mutua.

“I have lots of experience as compared to Mercado and I want to show Kenyans just what stuff I’m made of ever since I went to United Kingdom for training. I have had a bit of polishing in several areas and all I want is for Mercado to bear the brunt of my new tactics,” said Zarika.

The bouts supervisor Marina Milavanonova of WBC Rating and Youth Committee noted that female pugilists are special part of the sport, adding that she expects a thrill-a-minute from the combatants.

In the meantime, there will be several undercards one of which will involve former Olympian in US-based Rayton Okwiri of Kenya who will slug Uganda’s Patrick Amote in an eight-round middle-weight contest.

The bout will be held at KICC Comesa grounds and gates shall be open from 6.00 pm with the first fight starting at 8.00 pm while the main fight that will be the last one in the programme will get underway at 10.30 pm.