By Husna Muhdhar,
Professional boxer, Fatuma Zarika, the first Kenyan to win a WBC title, is still optimistic that Kenya can restore its long lost boxing status on the international stage.
The former WBC Women’s Super-Bantamweight champion, has blamed a lack of sponsorship and modern training facilities for her dismal performance at the International Boxing Association (IBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships held last month in Istanbul, Turkey.
Despite bringing the largest team among African nations to the 12th edition of the women’s premier boxing event, Kenya’s ten boxers were all eliminated in the preliminary rounds.
“I think the only thing hindering our progress is lack of sufficient sponsorship. Yet we know very well that our players have a lot of challenges in meeting their daily needs. Also, if you look at the training itself, it is not good enough and sometimes you see players going to camp to prepare for major assignments without full focus. At times they go into camp thinking about their problems back home yet every day they are supposed to wake up and go for training,” Zarika remarked.
In the preliminary rounds, Elizabeth Andiego, Lorna Kusa, Christine Ongare, Teresia Wanjiru, Elizabeth Akinyi, Beatrice Akoth, Ann Wanjiru, Stacy Ayuma, Amina Martha, and Evelyn Akinyi all lost their fights and failed to prgoress
|Fatuma Zarika poses with her WBC Super Bantamwieght WBC Belt. Source: Women Of Boxing.com|
Zarika, on the other hand, claims that all is not lost if the right measures are taken, urging investors to be more aggressive in the game, particularly when it comes to establishing and expanding contemporary infrastructure.
“Boxing is a sport that can pay you well especially with good sponsors supporting your course and caring about you and your future, not just watching you play to yield short term results for them while your future is unpredictable,” Fatuma proposed.
For the time being, Hit Squad is in camp, preparing for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, which will take place in July.
At Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, eight boxers, led by Hit Squad captain Nick Okoth and his helper Andiego, are in a residential training camp under head coach Benjamin Musa.
Shaffi Bakari, David Karanja, Bonface Mugunde, Isaac Meja, Christine Ongare, and Amina Martha are among the other pugilists in camp.