August date for Ashley's world title fight
A date in early August is likely for the return World Boxing Council (WBC) world title fight between champion Fatuma Zarika from Kenya and Jamaica’s Alicia Ashley, the former champion. This was disclosed to The Sunday Gleaner yesterday by promoter Luigi Olcese, who also said that the venue would be El Paso, Texas.
Zarika and Ashley met on October 1 last year in Michigan, USA, and Zarika dethroned the champion by way of a controversial, 10-round split decision. They had agreed to a return fight in case Ashley lost, however, and Olcese said that this is now being enforced.
“There have been some hiccups in arranging the return fight, but I think everything is now sorted out, and we are pretty close to finalising all the details,” he said.
Continuing, Olcese said that he had looked at several venues, including Jamaica, for the return fight, but Texas turned out to be the best option.
“Alicia really wanted to fight in Jamaica, but I just could not get things sorted out there, but, hopefully, she regains the title, and in that case, Jamaica will, of course, be on the top of the list of possible venues,” he continued.
Ashley, in the meantime, is anxious to get back into the ring for the return fight. She told The Sunday Gleaner that she was already in training for the fight and had shifted her training venue from New York to Florida.
“I am taking this fight very seriously as I want to regain my title. I have moved my training camp to Fort Lauderdale so as to avoid distractions. It is a costly decision for me, but I want to focus on nothing but this fight, and this is the best thing for me now. I have to be in top condition, and nothing is going to stand in my way,” she added.
She, too, expressed her disappointment that the fight would not be taking place in Jamaica but added: “The good thing is that after I regain my title, the venue for my first fight after that must be Jamaica.”