By our correspondent
DUBAI: The visa issues continue to hurt the career of Pakistan’s premier professional boxer Mohammad Waseem as his IBO bantamweight world title fight against Filipino legend Donnie Nietes, which was scheduled in Dubai on Saturday (today), was postponed after the Quetta-born fighter failed to get the UAE visa.
After a few days wait Waseem’s Dubai-based promotions Disrupt were forced to take the decision.
Waseem’s initial visa application had been rejected the other Friday. Sources close to Waseem said that an Indian travel agent had made mistake in filling his visa form which caused the rejection of the application.
However, Waseem’s promotions applied for visa again but no response came from the UAE’s visa authorities which compelled the promotions to postpone the major fight.
On Friday Waseem had to attend the weigh-in in Dubai but it did not happen due to visa issues. Waseem is in Glasgow. He trained there for 45 days and was set for what could be a fate-changing fight for him.
Waseem was extremely upset by the development.
“Yes, it is extremely unfortunate,” Waseem told thecricketplus.com from Glasgow.
“I had trained very hard for the last 45 days and was confident to win the coveted title for the nation but it could not happen due to visa issue,” said Waseem, also a three-time WBC world silver flyweight champion.
Waseem’s promotions had not involved Pakistan’s embassy in the episode, it has been reliably learnt.
This is not the first time that Waseem is facing such issue. In the past too Waseem faced similar visa issues and once he was set to undergo training in Baku but visa matter had denied him the chance to proceed. He had also requested the federal government when Imran Khan was the prime minister to issue him special passport so that he could easily manage his attendance for similar fights.
But Khan’s government did not do anything for the former Asian Games bronze medallist and two-time Commonwealth Games medallist.
Waseem on Friday once again demanded the federal government to facilitate him so that he could get visas timely.
“Visa issues have dented my career. I was so excited for this huge fight but visa issue denied me a great opportunity to win the title for the nation,” Waseem said.
“”The federal government should provide me special passport so that I could easily manage such tours,” Waseem said.
“It’s unfortunate that some fake boxers are being supported by the government whose fathers are at high positions but genuine fighters like me who has lifted three WBC world silver flyweight titles for Pakistan is not being backed,” Waseem lamented.
Waseem’s mother, wife and his little son also had to cancel their Dubai trip after Waseem failed to get the UAE visa.
Waseem’s friends from the US and England also have come to Dubai to witness his fight and the development would have made them hugely disappointed.
This was after 15 months that Waseem was set to fight in international circuit.
His last fight had been held in March 2022 when he lost to England’s Sunny Edwards in the world title fight at the Duty Free Tennis Centre in Dubai.
Waseem said it is not yet known when the fight will be rescheduled. “It is now upto the promotions to decide and reschedule the fight,” Waseem said.
Waseem also appreciated his promotions Disrupt for giving him an opportunity to fight for the world title.
“I am very happy and thankful to Disrupt Promotions which gave me the opportunity to play such a major fight,” Waseem said.
Meanwhile Waseem’s trainer Danny Vaughn said the fight has been called off due to Waseem not having a visa in time.
“He needs backing from Pakistan authorities so he does not have these issues. He is a huge sports star around the boxing world but he does not get looked by his own people,” Danny told this correspondent. “It’s world title fight with months of preparation, dedication and sacrifices. This is not fair. Hopefully we can get Pakistan to help him with this visa issues.. It has happened to Waseem on a few occasions,” Danny said.