Flashback Friday: Here Is How Fatuma Zarika Vs Yamileth Mercado Went Down

Mar 22 - by Louis Kalinga for SportPesa News

She takes to the ring tomorrow (Saturday) at the KICC seeking a third successive title defence against Zambian Catherine Phiri, whom she also beat on a split-points decision on December 2, 2017

Fatuma Zarika punches Yamileth Mercado on her way to defend the WBC Super Bantamweight title in Nairobi on September 8. PHOTO/Nation

  • On Saturday, Septemer 2, 2018, thousands of Kenyan fans gathered at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) for arguably one of the biggest boxing spectacles ever held in the country
  • Despite the other bouts lined up on the day, the main focus was the headline fight featuring World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight Champion Fatuma Zarika
  • Zarika eventually won the fight by outclassing the 20-year old Mexican 2-1 on split points decision to retain the coveted belt

NAIROBI, Kenya- On Saturday, Septemer 2, 2018, thousands of Kenyan fans gathered at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC) for arguably one of the biggest boxing spectacles ever held in the country.

Despite the other bouts lined up on the day, the main focus was the headline fight featuring World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight Champion Fatuma Zarika as she took to the ring to defend the belt she won in 2016 after defeating Jamaican Alicia Ashley.

Her challenger was a little known Mexican by the name of Yamileth Mercado; the then 20-year old boxer arrived in Kenya for her first visit to the continent full of confidence as she sought to dethrone Zarika to become the youngest Super Bantamweight world champion.

It was always going to be an uphill task for the inexperienced boxer who was going for a 10-round bout against a returning Zarika who had just completed a month-long training stint in the United Kingdom.

While in Liverpool, Zarika was under British trainer John Gillies and former WBC Cruiserweight champion, Tony Bellew, who shaped and sharpened her technical skills ahead of the mega bout.

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An exciting under card match pitting Olympian Rayton ‘Boom Boom’ Okwiri against compatriot, Patrick Amote, stirred the charged crowd as the Rio 2016 Olympics representative won the bout via a knockout in the second round.

As Zarika came into the ring, with the iconic Bob Marley ‘Iron Lion Zion’ tune bumping on the speakers inside the arena, every Kenyan rose to their feet to cheer on their champion and the smile on the 34-year old mother of two’s face, displayed an encouraging sight of confidence.

What followed was a grueling 10 rounds of boxing as both ladies traded fists and pushed each other to the limit, much to the appreciation of the fans in attendance.

Mercado proved many doubters wrong as she made a statement with every jab she swang at Zarika, proving that her lack of experience was not going to be a factor as she continued to brave through the flurry of punches that the world champion kept throwing at her.

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Zarika eventually won the fight by outclassing the 20-year old Mexican 2-1 on split points decision to retain the coveted belt, she was awarded 94-96, 97-93, 99-91 by the international judges, defending the crown for the second time in a row.

She takes to the ring tomorrow (Saturday) at the KICC seeking a third successive title defence against Zambian Catherine Phiri, whom she also beat on a split-points decision on December 2, 2017.

Tickets for the fight are on sale on mookh.com with regular going for KSHs 1,000 ($10USD) and VIP at KSHs 3,000 ($30USD).