KARACHI: Pakistan’s prolific professional boxer Mohammad Waseem on Friday said that he had worked extremely hard and would win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world title in Kuala Lumpur.
“I have laboured hard in the ring and am 1000 percent ready. I am confident about my win,” Waseem told The News in an interview just hours before moving from Las Vegas to Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The 30-year old two-time former WBC world silver flyweight champion will face South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane in the flyweight title shot at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15. He said that he was both mentally and physically ready for the showdown. “I am ready and cannot wait,” said the Quetta-born 2014 Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist.
Waseem underwent training in Las Vegas, the United States, under Jeff Mayweather, uncle of the boxing king Floyd Mayweather Junior. The title was left vacant by Filipino fighter Donnie Nietes, who held the crown for several years before rising to the super flyweight category. The Waseem-Moruti fight was previously set as an elimination bout but after Donnie Nietes vacated the belt, the fight was elevated to IBF flyweight title bout.
Waseem and his coach Jeff will stay for one day in South Korea before moving to Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile Jeff said Waseem was ‘ready’.
“He is ready for the fight,” Jeff told this correspondent from Las Vegas.
If the former two-time Commonwealth Games medallist is able to lift the crown he would become the first Pakistani who will achieve the milestone.
After a decade-long illustrious amateur career Waseem turned pro in early 2015, just months after winning bronze medal for the country in the 2014 Incheonn Asian Games. And it was expected that in pro circuit Waseem would take a long time to achieve any prestigious position. But he proved the notion wrong with his determination and hard labour in the ring. He was a rare fighter who opted to play ten round fight after switching over from a three-round amateur circuit.
Philippines on July 17, 2016, in Korea. In November the same year he defended his crown by upstaging Giemel Magramo of the Philippines, also in Seoul.
Following his excellent performance Waseem also remained World No1 for quite some time in the WBC books. He was expected to face Japan’s knock-out artist Daigo Higa in the WBC flyweight title bout early this year. But financial constraints denied him the chance to meet the Japanese. He remained in a fix for certain period before an English promoter Sean Gibbons rushed to his help and engineered a deal with the Manny Pacquiao Promotions which enabled the boxer to find himself once again on his feet.
“It would be a dream come true if I am able to beat the South African,” Waseem said.
In three and a half years of pro career Waseem has played eight bouts, winning all with six knock-outs.
The 35-year old Mthalane, on the other hand, is more experienced as he has played 37 bouts, winning 35 with 24 knock-outs. Mthalane, who has been playing in professional circuit since 2000, faced knock-out defeats in two bouts.
The South African has also to his credit an IBF flyweight world crown when he achieved that after beating Mexican boxer Julio César Miranda in November 2009.