Zarika Eager To Defend Her World Boxing Federation Belt

Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika and her coach Jamil Zafa display some of the high profile accolades the sensational pugilist has won in the sport over the years. PHOTO/ STAFFORD ONDEGO/ STANDARD.

NAIROBI, Kenya- Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika is eager to defend her World Boxing Federation (WBF) World Super Featherweight title she won two years ago in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The two-time World Boxing Council (WBC) World Super Bantam champion defeated Patience Mastara of Zimbabwe on unanimous points decision (98-92,97-93, 98-91) to lift the coveted WBF title.

She is among the three Kenyan women to own a WBF title, others being Conjestina ‘Hands of Stone’ Achieng and Sarah ‘Angel of War’ Achieng.

Zarika has fears that the prestigious belt might be declared vacant by the global body anytime from now after several grace periods that have been extended to her to defend it.

“I have not had the chance to defend this title due to lack of sponsors, I have also engaged the Kenya Professional Boxing Commission (KPBC) numerous times but there has not been any success,” Zarika told Standard Sports.

Zarika parted ways with her previous sponsors SportPesa after the gaming firm was affected by some of the government’s resolutions on betting.

“My desire is to defend the belt at home, not away in South Africa where the global body governing the title is based, there is a lot of advantage when you fight at home,” Zarika underlined.

Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika and her coach Jamil Zafa at a training session at the Diamond Plaza Two Gymnasium in Parklands, Nairobi on July 25, 2023. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Her coach, Jamil Zafa echoed her sentiments saying it’s much easier to defend the title in Kenya due to the massive home support.

“There is no fairness in fighting away, as we saw when Zarika defended her WBC title for the third time in Mexico against Yamileth Mercado, she lost the belt in controversial circumstances,” Zafa underlined.

Since lifting the WBF title at the Masaki Arena in Dar es Salaam on November 2020, Zarika has been upping her training everyday under coach Zafa, with hopes that corporates would come on board to help her defend the diadem.

“I have been training daily for the last two years, I feel very fit, I’m ready to defend the title any time,” Zarika stated.

Zarika currently alternates her training in three locations in Nairobi namely the Diamond Plaza 2 in Parklands, Vision Plaza along Mombasa Road and at her Zarika Fitness Gym in Gatundu.

She says she has no plans to retire from the sport anytime soon, adding that her other hope is to reclaim her WBC World Super Bantam title that she lost to Mercado.

Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika and her coach Jamil Zafa at a training session at the Diamond Plaza Two Gymnasium in Parklands, Nairobi on July 25, 2023. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Zafa is already contended with Zarika’s fitness assuring that the boxer can still win the WBF title if the fight was staged today.

“Our dream was to defend the title in six months after we won the belt, but this has not been possible due to lack of sponsorship.

“Nonetheless, we are grateful that WBF exempted us from paying the sanctioning fees normally charged after the period to defend the belt has elapsed, but we fear the belt might be declared vacant anytime from now,” said Zafa who doubles as a fitness trainer.

Fatuma ‘Iron Fist’ Zarika Tale of The Tape

Total Fights: 48

Wins: 33 (17KOs)

Losses: 13

Draws: 2

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