Kenya’s most successful professional boxer, Fatuma Zarika, says she has unfinished business with current World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Yamileth ‘Yeimi’ Mercado despite the talk about the Mexican reneging on a rematch agreement.
Zarika defeated Yeimi on points in their first title bout held on September 8, 2018, in Nairobi, but lost in the rematch held in Chihuahua, Mexico on November 16 last year.
Prior to meeting her waterloo in Mexico, Zarika had held the WBC belt for four years and defended it thrice after first winning it in 2016.
But much to Zarika’s chagrin, the WBC ordered Mercado to fight Zambian Catherine Phiri in a mandatory defence within 90 days.
The Mercado-Phiri bout planned for Mexico in March hasn’t materialised yet due to travel restrictions occasioned by coronavirus situation.
Zarika said: “I am hoping that WBC will give me another opportunity to fight Mercado as I have unfinished business with her.”
Speaking from Dubai, where she has been residing for some time now, Zarika noted that she’s spoiling for revenge despite the quality of opposition expected in her comeback just in case the fight materialises.
Zarika, also known as ‘Iron Fist’ suffered a unanimous points decision loss of 99-91, 98-92, 99-91 in her third title defence in Mexico.
The Kenyan had been training at the Round 10 Gymnasium in Dubai until March 15 when public places in the Middle East country were ordered closed.
“In our agreement when we signed the contract with Mercado, there was a clause for a rematch within 90 days which I think was never honoured after all. They never kept their end of bargain yet WBC thought otherwise,” she revealed.
Zarika, who is now training in a rented house in Dubai, said she will be pushing for the rematch once things normalise.
“With coronavirus issues here with us, it’s now difficult to do anything or plan effectively. But I’m officially at it again for a strong comeback and I hope to fight a lot more before any opportunity presents itself.”
Zarika is also contemplating scaling down her weight to flyweight in order to increase prospects of other title shots.
Zarika added that she hopes to do an eight-rounder locally or at the regional level, ostensibly to gain the much-needed fitness and ring time before taking on the world’s top pugilists.
“All the gyms here in Dubai were closed from March 15 due to COVID19 issues. I was training at the Round 10 Boxing Gym, so I resorted to training in the house. I’m sure I can get a few opponents in Kenya or in the region before going international.”
The super bantam Zarika shocked the country after Mercado’s fight last year when in a post-bout video interview charged that she owed no one any apology for losing battle to Mercado.
She added that she’s happy the belt remained in Mexico because no assistance was forthcoming from anyone in the run-up to the fight.