By Alam Safi
KARACHI: Pakistan’s prolific Mohammad Waseem on Friday said that he had worked extremely hard and would win the International Boxing Federation (IBF) world title in Kuala Lumpur.
“I have laboured hard in the ring and am 1000 percent ready. I am confident about my win,” Waseem told ‘The News’ in an interview just hours before moving from Las Vegas to Kuala Lumpur on Friday.
The 30-year-old two-time former WBC world silver flyweight champion will face South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane in the flyweight title shot for the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on July 15.
He said that he was mentally and physically ready for the showdown.
“I am ready and cannot wait,” said the Quetta-born 2014 Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist.
Waseem trained in Las Vegas under Jeff Mayweather, uncle of boxing king Floyd Mayweather Junior.
The title was left vacant by Filipino fighter Donnie Nietes, who held the crown for several years before rising to the super flyweight category.
The Waseem-Moruti fight was previously set as an elimination bout but after Nietes vacated the belt, it was converted to IBF flyweight title bout.
Waseem and his coach Jeff will stay for one day in South Korea before moving to Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, Jeff told this correspondent from Las Vegas that Waseem was “ready for the fight”.
If the former two-time Commonwealth Games medallist is able to win the crown he will become the first Pakistani to achieve the milestone.
After a decade-long illustrious amateur career, Waseem turned pro in early 2015, just months after winning a bronze medal for the country in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games.
It was thought that in pro circuit Waseem would take a long time to achieve any prestigious position. But he proved the notion wrong with his determination and hard labour in the ring.
He shot to fame when he won the WBC world silver flyweight title by beating Jether Oliva of the Philippines on July 17, 2016, in Korea. In November the same year he defended his crown by upstaging Giemel Magramo of the Philippines, also in Seoul.
He was expected to face Japan’s knock-out artist Daigo Higa in the WBC flyweight title bout early this year. But financial constraints denied him the chance to meet the Japanese fighter.
He remained in a fix for some time before matchmaker Sean Gibbons engineered a deal with MP Promotions which brought his professional career back on track.
“It would be a dream come true if I beat the South African,” Waseem said.
In three and a half years of a pro career, Waseem has won all eight fights, with six knockouts. The 35-year-old Mthalane is more experienced as he has played 37 bouts, winning 35 with 24 knock-outs.