"What I used to tell myself is that I'm the best. I can do it. If others can do it I can even do more than others."
That's Catherine Phiri, explaining the kind of mindset that propelled her to become Africa's first ever boxing world champion. Despite hailing from the poverty-stricken Republic of Zambia, Phiri has all the makings of a future boxing star. She packs a wicked right hand, she can take a heck of a shot, and (*record scratch*).....she's in high school.
Phiri, who was crowned World Boxing Council bantamweight champion after defeating Yazmin Rivas in January of last year, has been making waves in the boxing world ever since and was recently profiled by Al Jazeera as part of their ongoing celebration of Women's History month.
At 30 years old, Phiri isn't exactly your average high schooler/world boxing champion, either. In fact, she's currently using her boxing earnings to pay her way through high school, an opportunity that many women in Zambia could only dream of. And whether she's in the ring or the classroom, Phiri is as tenacious as they come.
But especially in the ring.
Here's the fight that put Phiri on the map: a hard fought decision win over Yazmin Rivas that earned her the WBC world title. In doing so, Phiri became the first Zambian to ever win the linear WBC title, with the closest prior being Lottie Mwale's 1980 loss to Saad Muhammad.
Here's Phiri crushing her 1st title challenger
So yeah, ouch, and also, damn. Catherine Phiri, ladies and gentlemen.