When you watch Super Bantamweight Fatuma ‘Iron fist’ Zarika in the boxing ring, you see this tough lady who cannot allow any challenge to overpower her.
After getting to know her on a personal level, that’s when you realize that that attitude has been fostered in her since she was young. In an interview with K24’s Upclose with Betty, Zarika takes us through her journey to stardom.
Below are eight things you didn’t know about the boxer.
Her mother, Aisha Musa, was a single mother and as a result, raising Zarika and her brother Hemed Musa was a bit difficult. Being the eldest, Zarika had to go out of her way to fend for the family. After completing primary school, Zarika could not even join high school owing to the fact that they had no money.
2.She started out as a housemaid
“I was a housemaid in three places and each house I worked for one year. I used to tell myself, I’d rather do such work than doing some other bad jobs. It’s better to go and wash for someone their clothes than going to do jobs without direction,” she said.
3.Tried football but it didn’t work
After a while, Zarika decided to try her hand in sports. She first tried football, but soon enough, she realized that it was not her forte.
4.Her first boxing match was in 2000 and she lost
Then she tried boxing, and it became clear that it was what she was born for. However, it was in 2000 when she had her first boxing match. To her surprise, she was thrashed by her opponent who was a prison lady. Nonetheless, the boxer decided that she would not give up. In fact, that particular fight instilled a great fighting spirit in her.
5.Three time World Boxing Council Super Bantamweight champ
In 2016, Zarika made history by being the first Kenyan to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) Super bantamweight title. The title has being challenged thrice, by Mexican boxer Yamileth Mercado in 2018 and Zambian boxer Catherine Phiri in 2017 and 2019. In all those attempts, Zarika has successfully managed to defend her title.
6.Sportspesa Brand Ambassador
Zarika became the Sportspesa brand ambassador in 2017. The company has sponsored her trainings in the United Kingdom where she has gotten to train with the best in the game such as Former WBC Cruiserweight Champion Tony Bellew.
7.She is a mother of two daughters
One of the things that keep her going is her two daughters, Sofia and Halima Zarika. The desire to give them a better life than she had is what keeps her focused.
“I want my children to study up to the level they want and for it to help them in their future. Education is an important thing. If you are not educated, there is nowhere you are going to go. Even if you have the talent, education cannot be put aside. You must also have something extra,” the WBC title holder adds.
8.She is focused and a go-getter
However, for Zarika, her talent is what has caused her to succeed in life. Nonetheless, she is quick to point out that what has brought her this far is being aware of what she wants in life and her strong will to succeed in life.
“You should trust in God and pray. However, know what you want in future. You can’t just pray and sit and wait. You must wake up and go get what you want. You must struggle,” Zarika concludes.