Zambia’s Catherine Phiri cries foul play, wants re-match in neutral country

Boxer Fatuma Zarika with her Zambian opponent Catherine Phiri during the weigh in held at the Hotel Intercont. Zarika won the fight on unanimous points decision at the KICC. PHOTO | Fred Maingi

ZAMBIA’S Catherine Phiri camp has demanded for a re-match in a neutral country against World Boxing Council (WBC) World Super Bantamweight Champion Fatuma Zarika.

Speaking after the eagerly awaited bout at the Kenyatta International Convention Center (KICC), Phiri said she will never win in the Kenya soil if the same judges will take charge.

“Fans and few officials have told me I deserved the win. Compare my face and my opponents, you can notice who won and who lost. My opponent’s face looks as if she was bitten by bees, look at my face, do you see any scar inflicted from tonight’s fight?

“Even when I visited Kenya the last time, neighbouring boxers complained they were denied of their victory against Kenya pugilists. It’s unfair. This is not the way to promote Boxing. Kenya’s  boxing promoters   should  sit down and address this matter of biased officiating” she said flanked by her manager and sympathisers.

In attendance to cheer up Fatuma was retired and former champion Conjestina Achieng who sat among the crowd.   Zarika, 34, defeated Zambia Catherine Phiri by a unanimous points-decision, though pundits felt a draw could have been the best result of the night or a loss for the Kenyan.

Zarika left the podium with a swollen jaw while her opponents appeared unscathed that gave the impression the Zambian deserved a bigger cake.  Judges Michael Neequaye, Fillemon Meya and Irene Semakula scored 98-92, 99-91 and 97-93 respectively.

Zarika led 39-37, 39-37 and 39-37 midway the scheduled 10 rounder and 79-73, 79-73 and 77-75 in the eighth round.

The Kenyan, however, felt there was no need for another re-match. “It wasn’t easy but I did my best. I feel there is no need for a re-match. I have beaten her twice. Let’s talk about something else,” said Zarika.

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