Mexican pugilist Yamileth Mercado feels cheated by the unanimous decision that gave her Kenyan opponent Fatuma Zarika victory during their 10-round World Boxing Commission (WBC) Super bantamweight bout at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on Saturday night.
Mercado, 20, who is almost half the age of Zarika, now wants a rematch for the fight held in her home country sooner than later, under different judges, so that she can prove her mettle.
Her sentiments have been echoed in social media by hundreds of boxing enthusiasts who watched the fight and tend to disagree with the judges verdict and believe that the Mexican won the contest.
“I say goodbye to Nairobi. I am dissatisfied with the decision of the judges, but still happy with the work I do. I’m also grateful to the beautiful people of Kenya who acknowledged the triumph and infinitely grateful and happy with my people from Mexico, thanks for the support. I love them all,” Mercado wrote on her twitter account.
The bout which was overseen by WBC representative Marina Milavonova and officiated by South African referee Simon Mukadi saw the judges award Zarika more points and percentage based on her reflexes and head punches as opposed to her opponent who opted to get points on the ropes.
With the results decided upon by the three judges from Zambia, Ghana and Kenya reflecting a split to the favour of Zarika, the opposing camp was left dissatisfied. According to the Mexican camp, Mercado had won fair and square and felt she was robbed clean.
The Zambian judge gave Mercado 96 points against Zarika’s 94, while Ghana’s judge gave Mercado 93 points against Zarika’s 97 points and Kenyan judge gave Mercado 91 points against Zarika’s 99 points.
“I gave a good fight against her and I felt I deserved the victory. I utilised the ring more, moved a lot and threw punches that actually landed. I dominated most of the rounds and so I do not understand how we lost this fight. My strategy worked right and therefore I should have taken the belt,” a disappointed “Yeimi” told local media.
She added: “If the other camp agrees, I am ready for a rematch in Mexico.”
Zarika who was happy to have defended her title and is reported to have earned a prize money of Sh 2.5 million for the victory, was, however, non-comital on the rematch calls by her opponent.
“I did my business in the ring according to plan and the judges gave me what I deserved. It is my preparedness and discipline that earned me the victory against my opponent who I can say has a bright future in the sport. Those suggesting otherwise do not understand the sport at all so I choose to ignore them,” said Zarika who underwent an intense six-week training session in Liverpool,England. She has,however, stated that as defending champion she had the last call on a rematch but evidently it will be at home.
Celebrated local referee and judge Billy Kiremi waded into the issue, stating that according to boxing rules, points are mostly earned from exposed areas especially face and stomach.
“From my understanding, Zarika outscored her opponent in crucial moments and especially from the fourth round. She was quicker and reflexes worked better than the Mexican. In the rules, if there is a split decision between the judges who are all qualified, the winner grabs it all,” Kiremi said.