Kenya’s Fatuma Zarika is the new World Boxing Federation (WBF) female featherweight (57kg) champion.
The former World Boxing Council (WBC) super bantamweight champion achieved the feat after beating Patience Mastara of Zimbabwe on unanimous points decision in the eighth round in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on Friday night.
Zarika, who badly needed the victory to revamp her hopes for a rematch in the World Boxing Council (WBC) fight against super bantamweight champion Yamileth Mercado of Mexico next year, was steady in most rounds and easily scored points on target.
However, she was at one time forced to work harder even though Mastara could not match her skills
As a result, Zarika won the hearts of most judges with a unanimous points’ decision to claim the first global title since she lost the WBC super featherweight title to Mercado in Mexico City last year.
She scored 97-93, 98-92 and 98-91.
Speaking to Azam Television in the presence of World Boxing Federation official Howard Goldberg before the match, Zarika said: “This belt looks genuine not like the ones I have seen before and winning it could set another milestone for me.”
Howard responded by saying “indeed, this is a beautiful belt and whoever wins it between the two of you (Zarika and Mastara) must be a worthy person.”
The match had earlier been scheduled to be a friendly fight but was upgraded at the eleventh hour to a WBF title fight and Zarika’s victory must be a good omen in her quest for revenge against Mercado.
In the main fight of the day, homeboy Hassan Mwakinyo knocked out Jose Carlos Paz of Argentina to clinch the WBF super welterweight title.
Mwakinyo knocked out the Argentine in the fourth round of the 12 round fight that he dominated in the first three rounds before the knockout.
Mwakinyo sent two uppercuts against the Argentine who fell down in the third round and knelt for a few seconds before he survived a ten mandatory count for the second time in the third round.
In the same round (third), Mwakinyo sent a vicious jab on Paz landing him on the canvas and after that Paz looked vulnerable and never escaped the wrath of his opponent as a ferocious jab landed him the knockout in the fourth round.
“Ushindi wangu wa Leo ni maalum kwa taifa langu. Natamani ushindi huu ukawa mfano kwa mabondia wengine. Nawashukuru sana Watanzania kwa sala, dua na sapoti zenu katika kufanikisha hii ushindi,” (This is a special victory to my country. I hope it will act as a perfect example to other boxers. I’m equally grateful to my fans who supported me towards the victory), Mwakinyo told Azam Television.
In the super middleweight bout, Hussein Itaba of Tanzania and Alex Kabangu of Democratic Republic of Congo settled for a draw of 94-94, 94-94 and 94-94.
Kabangu had earlier been declared the winner but that result was later reversed by WBF officials.