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December 13, 2019

Waseem wants to become PBF president to ‘revive’ boxing

Sports

December 13, 2019

KARACHI: Hurt by the never-ending woes of Pakistan’s boxing, former World Boxing Council (WBC) World No 1 and the country’s premier professional pugilist Mohammad Waseem on Thursday threw a bombshell, saying, he would correct the system if he becomes the president of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) in future.

“My heart bleeds when I see highly talented boxers being deprived of their rights. Pakistan has been badly suffering in boxing in international circuit and I have decided to become PBF president in future to revive the sport,” Waseem told ‘The News’ in a hard-hitting interview from his hometown Quetta on Thursday.

Waseem, also currently IBF World No 5 in flyweight category, is spending time with his family in Balochistan following his excellent victory against the Mexico’s Ganigan Lopez through a unanimous decision in his ranking fight in Dubai on November 22.

The former two-time WBC world silver champion plans to return to Glasgow before Christmas to resume training for another ranking fight in future, more likely to be his last before he will opt for world title eliminator.

“There is no merit and that is why our amateur boxing is suffering,” the 2014 Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist said.

“During National Games in Peshawar, some of highly talented boxers who were wrongly beaten sent me their fight videos and I was shocked to see how injustice was done with them. If a boxer wins in reality and he is ousted through wrong decision he loses heart and so his growth stalls. It is like killing the boxers,” Waseem pointed out.

“If you don’t keep fairness at national events how will you get the cream who could represent Pakistan in international events?” Waseem said. “Unless merit is kept through deputing neutral and honest referees/judges during the national events, justice cannot be ensured,” he said.

Waseem in his professional career has played 11 bouts, winning ten and losing just one when he was undone through a controversial decision by the South African Moruti Mthalane during a world title bout in Malaysia in summer last year.

“When I become PBF president, I will pick and train my boxers myself. Only a boxer can train boxers. I know how to prepare boxers. There is immense talent in Karachi and Balochistan. I have been training at my club in Quetta for the last three days and I have seen five such lads who are really talented. This is only an example. Lyari is filled with talent. Our system is defective and provincial associations are not honest with the sport. At the federation level, skilled hands are needed,” Waseem said.

“Who knows boxing better than me? I have been in the field for the last so many years and know the merits and demerits of Pakistan’s boxing. I will correct the whole system when I come into power,” Waseem said.

He said Pakistan does not have a good coach. “The coaches we have are too old. Boxing has changed a lot. Even our former boxers, who had created names, also don’t know much. The only coaching solution of Pakistan is to hire a Cuban coach for four years and give him full authority and only this will make things good for the country,” he said.

“If I become PBF president, I will open academies, bring in sponsors, keep merit in selection and increase exposure of boxers. It is alarming that our pugilists did not get exposure since last year’s Asian Games till some of them were sent to Nepal recently to feature in the South Asian Games where they faltered badly which exposed the standard of selection,” Waseem said.

Waseem remained a tough fighter during his decade-long amateur career. He was a teenager in the final days of former AIBA and PBF chief Professor Anwar Chowdhry. According to experts, had Waseem played in the era of Anwar Chowdhry he could have earned more medals for Pakistan. His stats don’t properly reflect his contribution to amateur boxing.