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July 19, 2018

Pak boxing squad’s tour of Iran in doubt


July 19, 2018

KARACHI: Pakistan boxing squad’s tour of Iran is in doubt as Iran’s boxing authorities are not ready to host Pakistani pugilists for a long tour, a senior official of the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) told ‘The News’ on Wednesday.

“The tour is in doubt. We want to go to Iran for at least two and half weeks but Iran says that we should come for one week. We are not ready to go for only one week which will not help us,” the PBF secretary Col Nasir Tung told ‘The News’ from Lahore.

The tour was aimed to prepare the national pugilists for the upcoming 18th Asian Games slated to be held in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.

However, the hopes of a tour have not yet ended.“We have told Iran to host us for at least 15 days and they said that they would inform us by July 22. Let’s see what happens,” Nasir said.

Pakistan is expected to field six male and a couple of women boxers in the Asian Games in which the country had won bronze through Mohammad Waseem in the last 2014 Incheon Asian Games.

As many as 18 male and six female boxers are undergoing training at the Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad. AIBA’s 3-star coaches Ali Bakhsh and Arshad Hussain along with Mohammad Ramzan are supervising the camp which started on June 20.

Nasir is happy with the preparation.“I am satisfied with the way the pugilists are training,” he said. “They are in good shape and I have seen their sparring and it has impressed me,” the official added.

He informed that the final squad will be announced by the end of this month.

“The boxers are under observation. We have told them that every sparring session is their trials. There will be no separate trials for them. Every boxer knows this. And the interesting thing is that one boxer excels in one sparring session and in the next the other dominates which has also put us in trouble to decide who is the best,” Nasir said.

Pakistan’s boxing has been passing through tough time for the last several years. The country lifted the only bronze in the Asian Games after long 12 years when Waseem, who now plays professional boxing, had clinched it four years ago in the quadrennial spectacle in South Korea.

In the 2017 Baku Islamic Games and Tashkent Asian Games, Pakistan also failed to deliver in the sport in which once the country had a strong say in Asia. In this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia too Pakistan had fielded four boxers who flopped miserably.

For the Indonesia Asian Games, Pakistan will have to field boxers in the initial seven weight categories as the heavyweights are not included in the list of weights which have been finalised by the organisers for the continent’s toughest assignment.

And the PBF is still unsure about how many boxers to send for Asiad.

“We are yet to decide about the numbers of boxers to be sent. We may send five or six male and one or two female boxers to Indonesia,” Nasir said.

This is the first time that Pakistan will be fielding its women in the Asian Games. The country’s women had made their international debut in 2016 South Asian Games in India.

This is also the first time that a full-fledged official training camp for women has been established alongside the male lot.The country’s most experienced light heavyweight boxer Awais Ali Khan has also been kept in the camp as sparring partner.

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