Catherine Phiri remains upbeat despite defeat

By Jeff Kapembwa

Lusaka – Zambia’s female sensational boxer Catherine Phiri is contemplating her next move after losing her World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Bantamweight title bid to Kenya’s Zarika ‘Iron Fist’ Fatuma last weekend.

“I believe I gave my best in the ring. We were all interested in the belt but at the end of the day only one person had to go home with it,” said Phiri.

Phiri, 27, a learner at a private school in Lusaka, boasts 14 wins with five technical knockouts after turning professional in 2011. She said her loss to the Kenyan boxer was painful though in a contest there can only be one winner.

The Zambian was outclassed by Kenyan celebrated female boxer Zarika ‘Iron Fist’ Fatuma in the World Boxing Council Super Bantamweight title fight on Saturday, December 2 in Nairobi.

The three judges scored the bout 97-92, 98-91 and 99-92 in favour of the Fatuma, who was defending her title after snatching it from Alicia Ashley of Jamaica in October last year.

After the fight, the Zambian pugilist took to social media where she acknowledged that Zarika was the better fighter on the day and has now set her eyes on vying for the WBC crown in 2018.

From the onset, according to statistics, Phiri showed a lot of skill compared to her opponent. Despite her home advantage, the Kenyan reportedly struggled to match with the Zambian pugilist though the two had traded punches in the early rounds, which made the contest exciting.

Fatuma extended her winning record to 30, including 17 knock-outs. She was quoted as saying: “I’m happy to retain this belt; this win is an inspiration that hard work pays in the end.”

Phiri’s boxing career climaxed in July 2011 when she defeated Zambian boxer Esther Chalwe in Lusaka. She went on to capture the WBC World Female Bantamweight title after defeating former champion Yazmin Rivas in her home soil of Mexico in January 2016.

She became the first Zambian boxer to win a WBC title after the legendary and late Lottie Mwale failed at the attempt in November 1980 after he lost the opportunity to Saad Muhammad.

In August 2016 at Lusaka’s Government Complex, Phiri knocked out South Africa’s Gabisile Tshabalala barely two minutes into the first round of the WBC World Female Bantamweight bout.

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