It’s going to be a big fight. Pakistan’s professional boxer Mohammad Waseem will be defending his World Boxing Council (WBC) silver flyweight world title when he fights against Giemel Magramo of the Philippines in Seoul on November 27.
It will be a test for the Quetta-born fighter as his 22-year-old rival Magramo is touted as a sharp boxer. Magramo has a bright record as he has played 17 pro bouts and won them all. His fine run includes 13 knock-outs.
Waseem has progressed rapidly in professional boxing and clinched the WBC world silver flyweight title in only his fourth bout when he beat Jether Oliva of the Philippines on July 17, 2016, in Seoul where Waseem is going to defend his title next Sunday.
Winning the world silver crown in four fights is really a stunning feat as no other pugilist in the world has done so. The Seoul fight can be called an ‘even fight’ as both are tough fighters but it is expected that the World No9 Waseem will be able to prevail over the World No15 Magramo because of his skills and huge experience.
Waseem flew from Las Vegas, United States, to Seoul the other day along with Jeff Mayweather under whom he trained for a couple of months at the Floyd Mayweather Junior’s boxing club.
After this fight, Waseem may challenge Roman Gonzalez of Nicaragua who is the WBC super flyweight world champion.
Waseem, a former Commonwealth Games silver medallist and Asian Games bronze medallist, tore apart all hurdles to become professional early last year.
He is playing under Korea-based AK Promotions, which is headed by Andy Kim, who has strong relations within international boxing community.
Kim has his own gym in Japan as well which Waseem also uses for his preparation. This was the second time that Waseem was sent by Kim to America for training. He had also prepared in Las Vegas for his previous world title fight against Jether Oliva, who announced retirement after losing to the Pakistani boxer in a sweating battle at the Seoul Hilton Hotel.
Waseem, who switched over to pro boxing having represented Pakistan in amateur circuit for around a decade, has not been encouraged by the corporate sector or the Pakistan government for becoming the first Pakistani boxer to win WBC world silver title.
People in the corporate sector and government promised financial support for Waseem, but failed to keep their word. This has frustrated the boxer who needs a lot of support at this stage of his career.
Barring a cheque of Rs2 million which Waseem received from Quetta’s Corps Commander nobody has helped him.
When he landed in Islamabad after winning the world title in July this year only one television channel had sent its reporter to the Benazir International Airport which left Waseem heartbroken.
Waseem also had faced tough times in his amateur career despite being the sole medal-winning boxer for the country for a long time. Waseem decided to turn pro because of the step-motherly treatment he got from the officials of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF). He was lucky to find a promoter like Andy Kim who has shaped his career and gave him confidence to grow in the most competitive field.
A couple of years back PBF officials had termed Waseem a spent force. Andy Kim recently told me that it was in fact the appropriate age in which waseem could box perfectly. “This is the best age for Waseem to play boxing. Those who termed Waseem as a spent force don’t know boxing,” Kim said.
“I am in perfect shape and ready for the fight,” Waseem told ‘The News on Sunday’ (TNS) from Las Vegas. “No doubt Magramo is a competent fighter but I know his weaknesses. I have planned for him and have prepared myself in a different way which I think will be much harder for my rival to understand. For every fight you need to change your style and I have done that and you will see how I play against my rival if I remained fit,” the boxer said.
“Seoul has always been a hunting field for me. I not only lifted world silver title there but also secured Asian Games bronze medal in 2014, the first in the event from any Pakistani since 2002. The people there support me,” the boxer added.
He praised Andy Kim for his enormous support. “I salute Andy as he has met all my demands during my training. It is not easy to train for so long here at Las Vegas. It is very expensive. It is because of Kim that I have done this,” Waseem said.
“But it gives me pain that I am not being treated by my country the way I am being respected here in the US. Here people love me a lot. They know the importance of my title because boxing is a global sport. People here will ask you about your country. And I am proud that I have gifted Pakistan a great title in such a short time. But I am disappointed because those who promised me financial support in Pakistan have done nothing so far for me,” the boxer lamented.
“Here in Las Vegas, Mayweather and other television channels interview me every week. The people meet me because I hold an important title. In Pakistan nobody sponsors me and media do not give me the coverage I deserve,” Waseem said.
His trainer Jeff Mayweather is optimistic about Waseem’s success in the November 27 fight. “I think Waseem is well-prepared for this fight and will emerge victorious in an extremely impressive fashion. He is a phenomenal fighter,” Jeff told ‘TNS’ from Las Vegas.
“He will take his opponent into deep water. We need this type of tough challenge if we are going to become world champions one day. Undefeated, good fighters always present a tough challenge because of their fear of losing,” Jeff said.
“I don’t know a fighter on this planet today who works harder than Waseem. I am sure everyone will be impressed with his performance,” Jeff said.