World Boxing Commission (WBC) champion Fatuma Zarika expects a difficult fight when she takes to the ring for her Super bantamweight title defense against Jamaican Alicia Ashley on June 30, in Dallas, Texas, USA.
This will be a repeat of last year’s clash between the pair where Zarika dethroned the Jamaican via a split decision at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint in Michigan, the US and became the first Kenyan pugilist to claim the prestigious title.
But as she prepares for the highly anticipated bout, the 31 year old stylish orthodox stance boxer who shifted her training base to US six weeks ago, is wary of Ashley’s revenge mission.
“Of course this is going to be a very tough fight for both of us, but a great fight for the fans. Both of us have different targets. While I am focusing on defending the title, Alicia will be out to revenge last year's defeat,” said Zarika from her training base at Berry’s Boxing Gym, Las Vegas.
Despite the hype surrounding the fight, an extremely motivated Sportpesa-sponsored mother of two is looking forward to retain her title.
“She (Alicia) is a former champion and I know what she capable of. But having been in US for the last sid weeks I am extremely motivated and prepared for the challenge. She is of course coming out with everything she has, but I am confident I will handle her,” she added.
Asked on how excited and motivated she is after last week's meeting with her role model legendary Mike Tyson, Zarika said : “ It is always great to have a change of environment and that’s how I came to meet Tyson.
“I was more than pleased to have met Tyson , one of the celebrated boxers in the game’s history whom I have only been watching on television. We had a lengthy talk, but he promised to visit me in the gym this week before the fight. It was really motivating and I am looking forward to meeting him again.’’?
49 year old Alicia Ashley has vowed to reclaim the WBC World Super Bantamweight title when she fights 31 year old reigning Champion Fatuma Zarika on 30th June. The for the rematch bout is yet to be decided but the former WBC female World Super Bantamweight champion who has never fought in Jamaica, hopes to get the opportunity to do so in this match.
“I have a title rematch at the end of June and I want to win back my title here in Jamaica. Venues have been discussed in Florida and New York but I have never fought in Jamaica, so I would really love to fight here.”
Ashley lost the title to Kenyan challenger Fatuma Zarika Zarika on the 1st of October 2016 in a bout staged in Flint, Michigan USA a win that saw the Sportpesa sponsored, Zarika become the second Kenyan woman professional boxer to hold a world title after Sarah Atieno who is the reigning UBO super featherweight champion.
It is all systems go for the eagerly awaited World Boxing Commission bout between Super bantamweight women champion Fatima Zarika and Jamaican Alicia Ashley, on June 30 at a yet to be confirmed venue in Dallas, Texas, USA.
This will be a repeat of last year’s clash between the pair. Zarika went into the history books when she became the first Kenyan pugilist to claim the prestigious title after dethroning the Jamaican via a split decision at the Dort Federal Event Center in Flint in Michigan, the US.
The victory saw the 31 year old mother of two, who is currently in US on a month long training at Berry’s Boxing Gym in Las Vegas, extend her record to 28 wins, 12 defeats and two draws.
Zarika’s upcoming fight has attracted a lot of interest and has caught the eye of leading gaming firm, Sportpesa, which is sponsoring her logistics as she prepares for the big fight.
As part of her preparations before the much anticipated WBC bantamweight title defense, Fatuma Zarika had an opportunity of a lifetime when she got a rare surprise visit from legendary Mike Tyson at her training gym a few days ago.
The stylish orthodox stance boxer started as an amateur in 2000 after leaving high school and immediately enrolled at Mathare Boxing Club. However, during that year, she fought four times and lost only once.
The following year, Zarika turned professional and was signed up by Caleb Kuya, a former Kenyan international.
On October 12, 2003 in Nairobi she won a four-round decision over Rukken Koronoso of South Africa. A week later, on October 19, 2003, again in Nairobi she won a four-round decision over Ester Herkole
She went on to clinch her first major belt on November 12, 2006 when she defeated Pavia Stankeova of Czech Republic for Women International Boxing Federation (WIBF) bantamweight title in Nairobi’s Leico Regency Hotel.
Zarika moved to the USA in February in 2016 after signing a deal with her new manager Nelson Lopez of Nelson Promotions.
Defending champions Kenya Police and Kenya Defense Forces KDF team collected 13 points apiece in the national boxing league first leg that served off at Modern Fitness Gym in Mombasa at the weekend.
Hillary Alila, vying for the Chairmanship of the Kenya Proffessional Boxing Association has said that upon election, he will empower former professional boxers so that they can mentor upcoming pugilists.