To no avail: Waseem’s herculean efforts go in vain

Quetta-based pugilist finds no sponsors or govt support despite WBC Silver win


Natasha Raheel August 18, 2016
PHOTO COURTESY: Andy Kim

KARACHI: Muhammad Waseem believes that his achievement of becoming the first Pakistani to win the World Boxing Council (WBC) Silver Flyweight title went in vain when it came to getting sponsors or support from the government.

The Quetta-based pugilist defeated Philippines’ Jether Oliva last month in Korea on a unanimous decision, while his short but fruitful professional career includes four fights, out of which he won three on knockouts.

Waseem’s success is a rare one as he became the WBC Silver Champion in the fourth fight of his professional career, which began last year.

WBC Silver flyweight champion: Quetta celebrates Waseem’s victory

However, he feels that his achievements are still not enough for the Pakistani authorities or the corporate sector to sponsor him.

“After the title win, I immediately wanted to be here in Pakistan,” Waseem told The Express Tribune. “I wanted to make my country proud and also hoped for an attitude change, but nothing has changed. Even the Balochistan minister, who promised to sponsor me, never got back to me.”

A disheartened Waseem said he barely received any response, let alone sponsors. “I’m just chasing government officials and going to different companies asking them to sponsor me. But I haven’t got much of a response.”

Muhammad Waseem hopes boxers receive respect in Pakistan

The 28-year-old is seeking a title fight against WBC lightweight champion Roman Gonzalez this year, and needs ample funds for his campaign. While he is supported by his Korean promoter Andy Kim, he feels there is always a need for more money.

“When I go to Korea, they would want me to represent Korea eventually. The companies there have been showing interest in sponsoring me and I had to choose to carry on as a Pakistani or settle in Korea; I chose Pakistan,” said Waseem.

Waseem becomes Pakistan's first silver flyweight champion

He added that he had attempted to meet Prime Minister (PM) Nawaz Sharif but no one was present at the PM House. Meanwhile, business tycoon Malik Riaz — who had announced a cash prize for Waseem amounting to Rs1 million — was also absent when he approached him in Lahore.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2016.

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COMMENTS (1)

Burhan | 6 years ago | Reply Dear Natasha, Waseem is the WBC Silver Flyweight Champion, not Lightweight. In professional boxing, Flyweight Limit is 112 pounds, Lightweight limit is 135 pounds. Roman Gonzalez is the WBC Flyweight Champion, not Lightweight.
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