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December 31, 2020

PBF plans to test England-based Hussein in National Championship

Sports

December 31, 2020

KARACHI: Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) plans to test England-based boxer Hakeem Abdul Hussein in the National Championship which will be held in the last week of February at Lahore.

“Yes, Hakeem wants to play for Pakistan. He plays in 69 kilogramme and is a good boxer. I have seen him playing,” PBF Secretary Col Nasir Tung told ‘The News’ on Wednesday. “We want to test him in the National Championship and see where he stands

“Coach Arshad Hussain also knows him well. Let’s see what happens. If he can be productive for Pakistan then it will be a welcome sign,” Nasir said.

Hakeem, who originates from Islamabad, is expected to represent the federal capital in the National Championship which will kick-start on February 24 at Lahore. The event had been scheduled for December this year but had to be postponed due to a fresh spike in coronavirus cases.

This is not the first time that foreign-based boxers are interested in representing Pakistan. During the last decade, several foreign-based fighters, especially from England and the United States, were tested in the national camps. However, most of them remained well short of the required standard.

British boxer Amir Khan’s younger brother Haroon Khan won bronze for the country of his origin during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. However, he soon turned pro and did not play for Pakistan for long.

Nasir also revealed that the federation plans to hold a camp for the world qualifying round for next year’s Olympics from January 15, 2021, at Lahore.

“We have requested the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to provide us training space at Lahore,” Nasir said. “We want to start preparation for the world qualifying round from January 15 as we have not much time,” said the official.

He said that 15 boxers in five weight categories and two coaches would be put in the camp.

The big news is that WAPDA’s Tariq Siddiqui will be seen in action as a coach during the camp after having been ignored for national duty for several years.

“Yes, Tariq will be there along with Arshad Hussain,” Nasir said.

Tariq is the coach of former star amateur fighter and now world’s leading professional Mohammad Waseem.

Tariq was also seen working with Waseem in South Korea during initial years of his professional career.

The world qualifying round will be staged in Paris in May, 2021.

The PBF plans to send the best available fighters to Paris. “Our plan is to send fighters to Paris in five weights but all options will be weighed. We will see where we can produce some results at the biggest stage with the best lot,” Nasir said.

Pakistan recently lost Asif Hazara, a highly talented and one of the Olympics prospects, as he turned pro and won a fight, beating Indonesia’s Jack in the super flyweight fight here at the People’s Sports Complex while playing for HS Promotions.

But Nasir is not worried about that. “We have other boxers of Asif’s calibre. We have Attaullah from Balochistan. He played superbly against Asif in the national event. We can try him in place of Asif,” Nasir said.

He reiterated his commitment that by the middle of April the PBF wants to have a joint training camp with boxers from Jordan in Pakistan. “If COVID issue does not impede then we have planned to invite them as by then our boxers will be in good shape,” Nasir disclosed.