Wednesday June 07, 2023

Waseem goes down in IBF flyweight world title bout

July 16, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan’s professional boxer Mohammad Waseem on Sunday went down against South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane in the International Boxing Federation (IBF) flyweight world title shot in Kuala Lumpur.

The former IBF world champion Mthalane regained the belt as he prevailed over the former two-time WBC world silver flyweight champion Waseem through a unanimous decision (114-113, 114-113, 116-10).

The South African had clinched his first IBF flyweight world crown when he beat Mexican boxer Julio César Miranda in November 2009.

Waseem, who showed superb stamina in the ring, knocked down the 35-year-old Mthalane in the 11th round. But the South African, nicknamed ‘Babyface’ survived this scare.As the 12th and final round ended, the 30-year-old Waseem climbed on the ring rope and spread his both hands, indicating that the Pakistani fighter was confident he would be declared the winner. The footage of the fight shows that when the winner was being announced, Waseem was seen almost raising his hands. But he controlled himself when Mthalane was announced as the winner.

“When a boxer loses he does not climb on the rope of the ring,” Waseem told ‘The News’ after his superb fight.“I lost but my head is up. The referee favoured my opponent. The fight was seen in 200 countries and the viewers are the best judges,” the 2014 Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist said.

“It does not matter that I could not win today. Playing at such a major platform for the first time will help in the coming days. I am very much satisfied and will inshaAllah win the world title one day,” he said.

“Everyone here is impressed and I will be given another such opportunity in near future,” the fighter said.This was the 36th win in 38 bouts for the South African and the first loss for the Quetta-born Waseem in nine pro bouts during his three-and-a-half-year career.

Waseem also mentioned some other factors which denied him the chance to win the title bout played on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Lucas Matthysse bout which the former won through the seventh round knock-out. “You know during my preparation I faced some hard time. I had to train in Ramadan which is not easy. And 16 days ago in Las Vegas I received a cut near the eyebrows during sparring. That opened today in the fight. So it’s bad luck. InshaAllah I will learn from all this,” Waseem said.

When asked how long he would play, he said it depended on fitness. “In professional boxing age does not count. It is fitness which matters. I still have enough time and will play for as long as I can,” Waseem said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Olympic medallist Hussain Shah urged Pakistan government and corporate sector to assist Waseem in his future plans. “I have seen him very closely. He is the most accomplished of boxers in the professional world. But what he needs at this stage is financial assistance,” Shah told ‘The News’ from Japan on Sunday.

“Today Waseem played really well against the South African. He is still young and can achieve many milestones,” said Shah, who claimed bronze medal for the country in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

After a decade-long illustrious amateur career, Waseem turned pro in early 2015, just months after winning bronze medal for the country in the 2014 Incheonn Asian Games. In pro circuit he shot to fame when he won the WBC world silver flyweight title by beating Jether Oliva of the Philippines on July 17, 2016, in Korea. In November the same year, he defended his crown by upstaging Giemel Magramo of the Philippines, also in Seoul.