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Waseem to train in Las Vegas, not in UK

Sports

May 28, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan’s professional boxer Mohammad Waseem has changed his plan of training in England and said on Sunday that he would move to the United States this week to prepare for his IBF world title bout later this summer.

“I have dropped the idea of moving to Birmingham. When I went to England embassy in Islamabad the other day the staff told me that it would take 21 days to get UK visa. I do not have much time, so I did not submit my passport to the UK embassy and decided to move to Las Vegas for training,” Waseem told ‘The News’ on Sunday.

“I have the US visa and am going to get ticket in a couple of days,” the former two-time WBC world silver flyweight champion said.

The 30-year-old will face Moruti Mthalane of South Africa in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world title bout on July 15 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur. The title was left vacant by Filipino fighter Donnie Nietes, who held the crown for several years before rising to the super flyweight category.

The Waseem-Moruti fight was previously set as an elimination bout but after Donnie Nietes vacated the belt the fight was elevated to IBF flyweight title bout. The two-time former WBC world silver champion is currently training in Islamabad.

A few months ago, things looked bleak for Waseem when his flyweight world title bout against Japan’s Daigo Higa could not be arranged because of financial issues. But fortunes turned in favour of the boxer when England’s promoter Sean Gibbons arranged the IBF flyweight world title bout against the South African under Manny Pacquiao Promotions.

“I have achieved top fitness level and am going to Las Vegas for sparring. My former coach Jeff Mayweather will coach me,” the boxer said.

During his association with the World Boxing Council (WBC), he mostly underwent training in Korea, Japan, Las Vegas and Panama. He held WBC world No1 spot for a few months. But as he could not defend his WBC world silver title in the specific period he was stripped of his title which affected his ranking.

Waseem turned pro in early 2015 after serving Pakistan for over a decade in amateur circuit and shot to fame when he won the WBC world sliver flyweight title by beating Jether Oliva of Philippines on July 17, 2016, in Korea.

In November the same year, he defended his crown by whacking Giemel Magramo of Philippines, also in Seoul.