Debutant pugilist Syed Mohammad Asif booked his place in the final of the fourth Taipei International Boxing Tournament in Taiwan on Saturday.
The 21-year-one defeated Mongolia’s Enkthtur Enkhnasan 3-0 in the 52kg flyweight category; earlier, he had beaten Singapore’s Mohammad Haaurdeen 3-0 in the quarter-final.
The Quetta-based pugilist will now take on Japan’s Mikito Nakano in the final bout on Sunday. Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) official Ali Akber Shah Qadri believes that Asif’s hard work paid off and lauded Pakistan’s other boxer Jahanzaib Khan, who reached the quarter-finals of the 49kg event.
“I’m proud of these boys; it was their debut at the international boxing circuit,” Qadri, who was also the national camp commander for the squad, told The Express Tribune. “Asif had last competed in the juniors’ U18 international boxing event in 2010. This is his first appearance among the elite boxers; meanwhile, Jahanzaib has never competed abroad before this tournament.”
“Both pugilists kept training throughout Ramazan and on Eid as well. Their dedication speaks volumes, as they would train even on Sundays during the national camp.”
The official added that Asif can win the gold medal on Sunday against the Japanese opponent.
Meanwhile, PBF secretary Akram Khan is also accompanying the team as the coach.
According to Qadri, Akram’s presence with the players has been helpful.
“Akram understands the game and strategies well; that is why the boxers were able to produce results. This performance has proved that Pakistan boxers still have the fight in them despite the lack of exposure.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.
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