“I want my belt back!”
That was the message from former World Boxing Council (WBC) world female super bantamweight champion, Kenya’s Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika from her Dubai training base on Thursday.
Zarika beat Mexican Yamileth “Yeimi” Mercado in a split-point decision in their title bout on September 8, 2018 in Nairobi, but lost the rematch on November 16 last year in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Zarika, who is currently training and coaching at Round 10 Boxing Club in Dubai, said she was confident that WBC will give her another chance to challenge for the title even after her rematch against Mercado was overlooked.
WBC had ordered Mercado, who had dethrone Zarika with a unanimously 99-91, 98-92, 99-91 points decision to face Zambian Catherine Phiri in a mandatory defence within 90 days.
The bout was scheduled for March in Mexico but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I don’t know why the WBC ignored the rematch clause in my contract with Mercado but again, there is nothing one can do without a sponsor or someone to push for it,” said Zarika, who is currently a boxing coach at Round 10 Boxing Gymnasium in Dubai.
“I want my belt back since I believe she doesn’t deserve it. Nilimpa aniwekee kabla kuichukua tena. (I gave her the belt to hold for me before I take it back,” said Zarika.
The Kenyan female boxer said she was in talks with the Round 10 Boxing Club management to have the bout staged in Dubai.
“They are more than willing to host the bout and we should enter into negotiations immediately after Mercado faces Phiri,” said Zarika.
Alternatively, Zarika said she is planning to scale her weight down to featherweight before taking a shot at the WBC world female featherweight title.
“I really want to recapture the super bantamweight before seeking the featherweight belt. It’s quite possible to hold the two but it will need serious preparations,” said the 35-year-old orthodox boxer, who has a record of 32 wins, 13 losses and two draws. (32-13-2)
Zarika, who first claimed the WBC belt in 2016 and defended it three times, said her training has been hampered by the coronavirus lockdown in Dubai.
“All the gymnasiums are closed and nothing is happening apart from personalised training in the house,” said Zarika.