KARACHI: The only Pakistani boxer to be crowned the World Boxing Council (WBC) silver flyweight champion, Muhammad Waseem is in danger of losing his title after the government failed to release the Rs30 million promised to him by Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in December last year.
According to WBC rules, a title winner must defend his belt within 90-120 days, otherwise, he would have to vacate the title.
Waseem, 29, became the first Pakistani boxer to win the WBC silver flyweight title when he defeated Philippine’s Jether Oliva in July last year and then followed that win by successfully defending his title against another Filipino boxer Giemel Magramo in November.
He wanted to challenge for the world title but his promoter Andy Kim notified him that he would need a lot of funds for that to happen. Since then, Waseem has been looking for sponsors in Pakistan and has also asked the government countless times to release the money promised to him but all these efforts have gone to waste.
“It's all very disappointing and I’m just stuck in the worst possible situation despite winning the title,” Waseem told The Express Tribune. “The government hasn’t released the funds they announced for me. It’s been months and I’m still stuck here waiting for the money to come in.”
Waseem will be leaving for the US to train with Jeff Mayweather, undefeated American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr’s uncle, in Las Vegas and he hopes the government does something about his funds before that.
“I’m aware that I can’t wait too long, and I will have to go to US for training, no matter what. I’ll put in whatever I have; I will need to organise another fight,” he said.
The Quetta-based pugilist revealed that he has written to the WBC to give him more time to defend his title and they are willing to cooperate. “I’ve written to the WBC that I’m still recovering from injuries from my last bout and I’ll need a little more time. They’ve understood my situation, so I’ve got some time to breathe. But this has all been really frustrating for me,” he said.
Nicknamed “The Falcon”, Waseem also said that this mental frustration has hindered his training as well, as he was unable to train much because of these issues. “I will need to train harder in the US because I’ve been out of touch a little bit. I’ll find out more about the details of the next bout as I go to Las Vegas; my next opponent might be an American or a Japanese boxer, but nothing is decided yet.”