World Boxing Championships: AIBA picks Hassan to compete in 91kg category

27-year-old’s performance at Asian Championship impressed officials

Natasha Raheel September 30, 2015

KARACHI: Pakistan boxer Mehmoodul Hassan’s exploits at the Asian Championship did not go unnoticed as the International Boxing Association (AIBA) picked him to compete at the World Boxing Championships, starting from October 5 in Doha, Qatar.

Hassan was among the eight boxers who represented Pakistan at the continental tournament last month and he reached the quarter-finals.

The 27-year-old received a letter from the world body on Monday, notifying the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) that he was one of the five boxers in the continental quota to be selected for the 91kg category in the world event.

According to the Karachi-based athlete, the call for the competition was not only a surprise but also a big chance for Pakistan to keep alive its hopes for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“I have four days to train for this,” Hassan told The Express Tribune. “I couldn’t have asked for more. I reported to the camp on Monday night as soon as I received the notification from AIBA.”

Hassan, who has been training with coach Ali Bux in Karachi for the last seven months, switched from kick-boxing to his present discipline at the age of 18. “Boxing is more competitive as more countries are involved,” he said. “I’m aware of the challenge of competing at the world level, but I’m far from nervous.”

Meanwhile, PBF secretary Iqbal Hussain said that Hassan can be a threat to bigger boxers in the World Championships that will see athletes participating from the US, Russia, Central Asia and Africa.

He added that the other boxers are on track for the Olympic qualifiers as well, with the PBF having requested the Pakistan Sports Board for a training tour to Cuba and hiring a Cuban coach next month.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2015.

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