Muhammad Waseem is still in search of his first major belt in the pro ranks but can now claim a win over a former titlist.
The former amateur standout from Pakistan and current flyweight contender picked up his second straight win this year following a winless 2018 campaign, outpointing Mexico’s Ganigan Lopez over eight rounds Friday at Ceasars Palace Dubai in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Scores were 80-73 and 77-75 twice in favor of Waseem, who previously returned to the win column following a 1st round knockout in this very venue this past September.
Action was all one way throughout the first half of the flyweight bout, as Waseem was able to control the pace largely on the strength of his steady jab. Lopez once held a junior flyweight title, but his career has long ago seen better days. The Mexican southpaw was too slow to the draw, with most of his punches picked off but his aggression leaving an impression on two of the three judges whose cards were surprisingly close.
The back half of the fight saw Waseem preserve his energy, playing defense as Lopez continued to come forward but often hitting nothing but air. Frequent clinching stripped the fight of its entertaining first half action, but still provided Waseem with a proper showcase as he remains on the hunt for a second career title shot.
Waseem came up short in his previous bid, running into long reigning flyweight titlist Moruti Mhtalane (38-2, 25KOs) last July. Mhtalane prevailed by unanimous decision, but Waseem managed a late round knockdown in coming closer to bumping off the compact champ from South Africa than any other foe since the legendary Nonito Donaire accomplished the feat a decade prior.
Friday’s win is Waseem’s second straight as he improves to 10-1 (8KOs). The bout going to the scorecards marked his first decision victory in three years, when—in just his 5th pro fight—he outpointed previously unbeaten Giemel Magramo over 12 rounds in their Nov. 2016 clash.
The bout streamed live on ESPN+ in the United States, in supporting capacity to 140-pound mandatory challenger Jack Catterall (24-0, 13KOs) in a stay busy fight versus Germany’s Timo Schwarzkopf (20-3, 12KOs)
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox