Waseem eyes 2024 Paris medal for Pakistan

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KARACHI:

Pakistan’s sole World Boxing Council champion Muhammad Waseem, who regained his silver title last year has set his eyes on the 2024 Paris Olympics as he beings preparations in Islamabad.

Waseem last fought Sunny Edwards for the International Boxing federation flyweight world title in March. He is waiting for his next professional bout and is looking to start his training again.

“It has been four months that I have not trained so I must get back to it,” Waseem told The Express Tribune from Islamabad.

The 34-year-old is the most successful professional boxer to come out of Pakistan with an impressive record of 12 wins, with eight knock-outs from the 14 professional bouts he has taken on so far.

But before going pro, he won several accolades for Pakistan including World Combat Games gold medal, Asian Games bronze medal, Commonwealth Games silver and bronze in 2010 and 2014. He then went on to fight professionally in 2015 after seeing unprofessionalism and utter neglect by the Pakistan Boxing Federation.

But now Waseem feels that he can perform for Pakistan at the Olympics.

“I have to compete at the Olympic qualifying round and I need to get back in shape before I take on the next professional bout,” said Waseem. “But for that I need to work hard and being in Pakistan, it can get difficult as I do not get the quality training facilities easily.

“The truth is I can’t afford this kind of training on my own. My agency will get me another bout soon, but I need to be ready and it has been four months now that I have not trained at all.”

Waseem said that in the gloomy situation when it comes to inadequate facilities, he is happy that the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) North General manager Engineer Anjum Aziz is helping him in the time of need. The camp approved by Aziz is for at least 90 days starting from September 1.

Waseem has been representing Wapda since 2004 as well.

To start off, he will need a gym and a training facility along with a team of coaches and at least three boxers who can become sparring partners for him.

“I have to thank Aziz for helping me in this because getting this camp is absolutely key,” said the 2010 South Asian Games silver medallist. “My aim is to represent Pakistan on every level, so targeting Olympics is the natural step. This training camp is the beginning.

“I will have to pick two to three boxers that will spar with me and then my coach and trainers. I prefer Tariq Siddique, a Wapda coach, because he is really good. He has helped me become the boxer I am today, so he must be utilised for this.”

Waseem is rated with WBC and IBF among the top 10 boxers in the world.



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