KARACHI: Pakistan's most successful professional pugilist and former World Boxing Council (WBC) silver flyweight champion Muhammad Waseem is all set to make his comeback on June 22 in Glasgow as he will take on Tanzania’s John Chuwa, while he believes it is going to be a year of transformation for him.
The Quetta-born boxer is signed by MTK management and this will be his first bout after a year since he lost his fight against South Africa's Moruti Mthalane for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title in Kuala Lumpur, while the reasons behind his first defeat in the professional career went deeper than just a bad day.
Waseem had to struggle with finding sponsors from Pakistan and he also had a not so pleasant experience with his manager earlier.
But shedding the skin for the new challenge, now Waseem believes that he can knock-out Chuwa in the fight that will take place at the Emirates Arena in Scotland, and that will be aired across different continents.
"I'm just excited, I can't wait to be back in the ring and win," Waseem told The Express Tribune from Glasgow, where he had also bagged the Commonwealth games 2014 silver medal, before switching to professional boxing. "It is a special place since my last achievement as an amateur boxer for Pakistan came here in 2014. I won silver medal but the decision of that bout was unfair, but I’ve accepted it. I’m just thrilled that the Pakistani community and even some Scottish fans really remembered that fight too. Now they are all backing me in my professional fight. I'm confident and ready to show the world that I exist and I am capable of coming back from the challenges I've had. I want to show the world who I am."
Waseem had become the first Pakistani to win the WBC title in 2017, defeating Jether Olivia and then defending the title successfully against Geimel Magramo the same year.
Despite the gap, Waseem is still ranked among top 10; ninth with WC and 14th with IBF.
Waseem has nine professional bouts to his credit, and he had won the title in his fourth pro fight, which was a surprise to many. He has six knock-outs, eight wins and only one defeat that was against Mthalane.
"It’s just few days left and I have trained very hard here in Glasgow with my coaches here. I'm very well taken care of, but my goal was to have as many sparring rounds as I could, so I had 65 rounds, although I was looking for 100, but I’m confident this fight is mine, with all the amateur experience too, I know I can knock-out Chuwa. If not, my strategy will be to build it up, and see what he has got, but I’m not going in the ring to lose" said Waseem.
Meanwhile Chuwa has appeared in 20 bouts and has only three defeats in his professional career at a young age of 21, compared to Waseem, 31, as he turned pro later in his career, after being ignored and mistreated by the Pakistan Boxing Federation.
"Back in 2014 I didn't know I would turn professional and one day I'd come back to Glasgow and fight here," said The Falcon, his nickname given to him by his friends and now used by his fans. "I didn't know what was going to happen after the 2014 Commonwealth Games. I just knew I wanted to compete at the highest level. I gave my all for my country and that the way boxing is managed in Pakistan was not good, not even close to being professionally run by the federation. But I was disheartened for getting a silver. It was a tough time for me."
Waseem, who was earlier known as Chinaman for his looks as his parents would also call him that, he thought Falcon was a more symbolic nickname for him.
"I’m agile and everyone thought I'm resilient and I'm quick so they started to call me Falcon, and I accepted it," said Waseem.
On the other hand, his eyes are on the world title, and the 2014 Asian Games silver-medallist believes he will get three bouts this year, along with a possibility to train in Spain as well.
"It is time for me to change, to test myself and I'm going to get opportunities, but I want to get the world title, that is my dream, all of these belts will come to me, all I needed was a stable platform," said the 2010 World Combat Games champion.
He added that with a fight against Chuwa, who will be his second African opponent, his chances are good.
He had wanted a re-match with Mthalane too, but that is not possible for now, but he feels that African boxers are tough, however, manageable.
"The toughest are Mexican, South Americans and even Asians. African boxers have their own style and it is unique," explained Waseem. "I'm just hoping for a good bout."
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