With just over a fortnight to go to the World Championship that serves as qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics, the Pakistan boxing squad is in a shambles.
The country’s top boxer Mohammad Waseem has refused to feature in the 49-kilogramme (kg) category, instead of his regular 52-kg weight class, while England-based Haroon Khan, younger brother of world champion Amir Khan, has been chosen to fight the 52-kg event instead.
However, the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) has already entered Waseem in the 49-kg event while four other boxers will also take part in the tournament that begins in Baku, Azerbaijan from September 22.
Waseem, who agreed to play in the 49-kg event, is now finding it hard to reduce his weight. “I’m really struggling and it seems impossible,” the Commonwealth Games (CWG) bronze medallist told The Express Tribune. “I’ve tried really hard to reduce my weight but the workout is affecting my fitness and I’ve informed the federation.”
The boxer insisted that the PBF ask Haroon to make himself available for the 49-kg class. “He has better facilities in England and he can reduce his weight. I represent Pakistan regularly and it’s unjust to disturb me for a boxer coming from another country.”
Meanwhile, the PBF claimed the decision will increase Waseem’s chances of qualifying for the Olympics.
“Waseem will have an easy time in the 49-kg class and he can secure a quarter-final berth,” said the PBF Secretary Akram Khan before adding that Waseem had been unimpressive in the 52kg category.
Waseem won the 2010 CWG bronze in the 49kg while Haroon bagged third place in the 52kg category.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.