Waseem receives a hero’s welcome after winning WBC title in Dubai

By our correspondent

KARACHI: Pakistan’s premier professional boxer Mohammad Waseem landed today here after lifting the WBC world silver flyweight title when he defeated Colombia’s Rober Barrera in a tough fight in Dubai the other day.

It was also a WBA final world title eliminator which the Quetta-born fighter won through a unanimous decision. It was a 12-round fight during which Waseem also received a blow at his left eye in the first round and the injury aggravated as the fight progressed. He had 21 stitches and according to him he was now on path of recovery.

He was welcomed by his well-wishers and fans after landing here at Jinnah International Airport on Monday evening. He also talked to a crowded media which was present to receive the fighter, the first such boxer of Asia who has to his credit two WBC world silver belts. Overall he has won this title three times which also included one time defence.

“I am the only boxer of Asia to have this belt twice,” Waseem told media. “It was a tough fight and I received shot at eye in the first round and the wound got widened as the fight progressed. Now thanks God I am on path of recovery,” Waseem said.

Waseem also thanked Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Director General Col (retd) Mohammad Asif Zaman for appreciating his performance. “The DG PSB called me and appreciated my performance. His men were also present here and so I am thankful to the PSB,” Waseem said.

“As far as government, Sindh and Balochistan are concerned so no one from there called me. I think state should promote sports. I have been observing this for quite sometime that state is not focusing on sports development. You see our Olympics sports like boxing, hockey and athletics went down and we have no standard in sports. The premier Imran Khan himself is a sportsman but in his tenure as prime minister sports lost its gloss,” said Waseem, also a former Asian Games bronze medallist.

He said after giving sometime to his family he will return to training in December, adding he plans to defend the WBC silver title before Ramadan in Pakistan.

“I think it will be very good for the country,” Waseem said. He said that after Ramadan he will go for the WBA and WBC unification world title shot.

Waseem was full of pain for Pakistani boxers who are being neglected by the state and sponsors.

“You know my management spends millions on my training. I give 5000 pounds to my nutritionist for one camp and sparring partner is given 100 to 200 pounds per sparring. What we are spending on our boxers?,” Waseem said.

He said that the authorities should keep a check on the so-called professional fights which are organised in Pakistan.

“There are unprofessional and so-called professional boxing associations and fake professional boxers who bring in their opponents by giving them money and organise events in the name of professional fights thanks to support from government and sponsors. They allow boxers to play a fight without undergoing a brain scan and that’s why we have seen a boxer died recently,” Waseem pointed out.

“Brain scan is done for 45 minutes before any professional fight in order to examine whether a boxer has got any brain injury during his preparatory sparring or not as during sparring a fighter gets shots and can receive brain injuries and can face six-month suspension but such things are counted by the organisers who hold fights in Pakistan in the name of professional fights,” Waseem said. ”

Waseem also pledged to serve Pakistani boxers by establishing boxing facilities for them.

“I have talked to my management and promotion to construct a boxing gym in Pakistan where we could train our upcoming young boxers and grow them properly,” Waseem said. Replying to a query Waseem said that he does not win belts for politicians but for green flag, adding, Pakistan’s flag is on top in the flyweight category in the world’s boxing.

He also dedicated his belt to Kashmiris, saying, he feels pain for them when sees the barbarism they face. “My fight was also a war and Kashmiris are also warriors. We all are warriors,” Waseem said.

Waseem said that he is ready to accept challenge of India’s undercard fighters despite the fact that there is no one in India of his ranking.

“They are welcome,” he said.

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