What you need to know:
Phiri's last victory was against South African Asandiswa Nxokwana whom she outclassed via a technical knockout on October 13 last year
Zarika, who left the country on Wednesday night to United Kingdom, said she will employ new skills to counter Phiri
While in the UK the boxing duo will also get a chance to be mentored and trained by British boxer Tony Bellew
As the World Boxing Council (WBC) World Super bantamweight champion Kenya’s Fatuma “Iron Fist” Zarika shifted her training base to United Kingdom this week, her challenger Catherine Phiri delivered a firm message.
“Prepare well for a classy defeat,” said Phiri in a message delivered by her manager Chris Malunga from her home city in Lusaka, Zambia, where she has pitched camp ahead of their title bout on March 23 this year in Nairobi.
Malunga said her boxer is not still happy about her unanimous point decision loss to Zarika in their last title fight on December 2, 2017 at the Carnivore Grounds, Nairobi.
“A lot of people saw what happened and that is why the WBC gave Phiri another opportunity,” said Malunga. “Phiri would like to go for the title clean this time around. We don’t want to disclose much details but let the talking be done on the ring.”
While Zarika went on to stage a successful defence beating visiting Yamileth “Yeimi” Mercado in a slit point decision on September 8 last year, Phiri has had three fights, winning all since then.
Phiri, who once held the WBC World bantamweight title where she defended it once before losing it, claimed technical knout victory against Kenya’s Rukia Nasirite on December 30, 2017 before knocking out Halima Yazidu from Tanzania on April 28 last year.
Her last victory was against South African Asandiswa Nxokwana whom she outclassed via a technical knockout on October 13 last year.
“Everything is falling in place here in Lusaka and let Zarika prepare for breathtaking showdown in Nairobi,” said Malunga.
Zarika, who left the country on Wednesday night to United Kingdom, said she will employ new skills to counter Phiri. “My previous match against Phiri was hard, so I expect a tougher match this time round,” said Zarika, who will be joined in training in UK by celebrated Tanzanian Super Welterweight boxer Hassan Mwakinyo.
Zarika and Mwakinyo will both be in the UK for training until March 16, courtesy of their sponsor, leading gaming firm SportPesa. Mwakinyo is scheduled to arrive in the UK by early next week.
They will be under a different set of trainers within the same gym in Liverpool. Mwakinyo’s opponent will be determined later.
While in the UK the boxing duo will also get a chance to be mentored and trained by British boxer Tony Bellew.
SportPesa Chief Marketing Officer Kelvin Twissa urged Mwakinyo and Zarika to use the valuable opportunity to polish their skills further.
“These are two very talented boxers and as SportPesa we wish them well. We have put a lot of resources behind them to ensure that they will get back from the UK ready for their matches,” said Twissa.
Twissa urged East Africans to throw their weight behind the two and prepare to turn up in large numbers in Nairobi for the biggest annual boxing event.