Zarika keen to hold on to WBF featherweight title

Kenya’s Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika has said she hopes the World Boxing Federation (WBF) title in the world female featherweight category will note leave the country after winning it in Dar es Salaam on Friday night.

The 35-year-old claimed the vacant title with a unanimous decision win against Patience Mastara of Zimbabwe at Next Door Arena in the Tanzanian capital after scoring 97- 93, 98-92 and 99-91.

“I din’t expect the bout to go the full length of ten rounds but it was also a good treat for the fans. Some had expected it to take fewer rounds but this is boxing.

“I thank my fans a lot for standing with me through think and thin, not losing their faith in me. I’m sure we will go far in ensuring this belt remains in Kenya for long,” Zarika said.

The former World Boxing Council (WBC) world champion’s victory extended her win record to 33 from 47 bouts (33-2-2) while Mastara now has 5-7-3.

“It feels great to be back after one year with victory. I want to thank Jackson Group for giving me a second chance for a world belt. I hope to defend the belt next year as I seek for quality bouts,” added Zarika.

Her opponent Patience Mastara expressed her disappointment in loosing the fight.

“Am really disappointed because this was my best opportunity but you know in sports you expect to loose, draw or win. I was positive but I hope to get another shot with her,” Mastara said.

Zarika’s coach Jamil Zafa was happy that even though her boxer trained for only a month, she still managed to secure the victory.

“All isn’t lost after Zarika lost her WBC title. It shows what Zarika is made of, she is a simply a champion. I am really proud of her because she has a heart to do things.

“Kenyans should not relent in supporting her because she still has that dream of taking another shot at WBC title. Kenya should push for it despite WBC declining to grant her a rematch against Mercado,” Zafa underscored.

In the other bouts promoted by regional boutique marketing agency, Jackson Group, Tanzania’s Hassan Mwakinyo claimed a fourth round technical knockout victory against Argentina’s Jose Carlos Paz to wear the WBF Continental super welterweight title in a bout that was scheduled for 12 rounds.