KARACHI: Pakistan’s professional boxer and two-time silver flyweight world champion Mohammad Waseem has become the world’s top-ranked boxer as per rankings released by the World Boxing Council (WBC) for the month of June.
“It is really a great honour for me to achieve the top rank,’ Waseem told ‘The News’ from Quetta on Saturday.
“It will further motivate me and instill in me more power and energy to help me in my career,” the boxer said.
Francisco Rodriguez Junior of Mexico and Andrew Selby of Great Britain are at the second and third spots respectively.
On July 17, 2016, Waseem became the first Pakistani boxer to have clinched the world silver belt by beating Jether Oliva of Philippines in Seoul. It was a rare feat from the fighter as he lifted the title in only his fourth fight of his career. He then, on November 27, 2016, successfully defended his crown by upstaging dangerous Giemel Magramo of the Philippines also in South Korea after a tough 12-round battle.
After a six-month lay-off due to sponsorship issue, Waseem has now started training for his next fight.
It is not yet known whether he would have to play the world title eliminator or would he be able to challenge any one for the coveted world gold crown, a target Waseem aims to achieve as soon as possible.
His promoter Andy Kim said he was waiting for the WBC’s input about Waseem’s future fight.
“I am waiting for the WBC’s confirmation,” Kim told ‘The News’ on Saturday. “It was going to be world title eliminator but now there are some changes and there is also a chance that Waseem could challenge for the world title,” Kim added.
When asked if they got a chance to throw challenge to any one then who would be the target? Kim said, “Daigo Higa of Japan may be our target.”
“Higa is a reigning flyweight world champion,” Kim was quick to add. Waseem’s next major fight is expected to be held in September-October.
He has already begun his training in Quetta. Panama would be his next training home and he is expected to move there later this month to play a couple of tune-up fights against the local boxers on July 5 and 29.
Kim says that Jeff Mayweather, as usual, would coach Waseem during his stay in Panama where he would undergo a proper training camp for his big fight later this year. Kim is confident that Waseem is much capable of winning the world title.
“If Waseem prepares well he can beat anybody,” Kim said. He said that in Panama Waseem would get good sparring partners.
“Waseem will get many young fighters in Panama and that will help him,” Kim said. After a decade-long successful amateur career Waseem turned pro in early 2015 when he signed a contract with the Korea-based AK Promotions being headed by Andy Kim.