Pakistani boxer Muhammad Waseem — Pakistan’s only professional boxer who rose to world fame last year —has lamented a lack of support on part of the government with regards to promotion of boxing in the country in general and Balochistan in particular.
Waseem, who belongs to Balochistan’s Mastung district, made history on Sunday when he defeated Jether Olivia of Philippines to clinch the World Boxing Council (WBC) silver flyweight title in Seoul, South Korea.
“Despite all odds, I managed to participate in WBC,” Waseem, who is the only boxer from Pakistan to have won such a title told Dawn.com on Friday.
Waseem’s residence located in Balochi street area of Quetta was jam-packed with boxing players, friends and relatives who visited to commend him for winning an international boxing title. He belongs to a middle class family and faced difficulties in getting sponsorship to compete against his Filipino rival in WBC.
“I won the title for Pakistan,” said Waseem, regretting a lack of encouragement from political leaders and government ministers. Pakistani boxer.
Waseem, who is known as ‘Falcon Khan’ for his swift boxing style, alleges the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) created hurdles for him instead of facilitating him. His contest with the Filipino boxer was sponsored by a South Korean, he said.
“Despite repeated appeals, neither any government functionary nor someone from the boxing association came to my help,” Waseem complained. He alleged that he was twice denied the invitation to participate in a world boxing championship by what he called were “some elements in Pakistan Boxing Federation”.
But upon his arrival in Quetta from Seoul on Thursday, Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri and Commander Southern Command Lt Gen Amir Riaz hosted receptions in his honour to encourage the triumphant boxer.
Speaking during the reception hosted in his honour, CM Zehri announced a Rs0.5 million reward for Waseem and provision of a residence for his family. The chief minister also announced that the Balochistan government would sponsor Waseem’s forthcoming fight in the US.
“We value your efforts for shining the name of Pakistan,” Zehri told Waseem at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat on Friday evening.
The 28-year-old began his professional career in South Korea last year and won the Korean Bantamweight title on debut, stopping Min Wook Lee in 1:37 of the ninth round at the Sunhak Gym in Incheon, South Korea.
His latest win is the fourth in an unbeaten streak, the previous three all ending in knockouts.
Pakistani boxer Waseem was ranked sixth in the flyweight category, just behind his latest opponent. After winning this title, the flyweight is set to to be ranked in the top four by the WBC and has the potential for a world title fight soon.