|File: Mohammad Waseem, right, hits Haroon Khan.|
Pakistanâ€™s star boxer Mohammad Waseem fought his way into the finals of the Second Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Boxing tournament at the Liaquat Gymnasium in Islamabad earlier this week. Waseem defeated Indiaâ€™s Madan Lal in the semifinals of the 52 kg division.
Waseem emerged as the only boxer from the host Pakistani contingent to fight for gold as seven other Pakistani fighters had to settle for bronze medals after they were beaten in the semifinals of their respective categories. Mohammad Nisar, Jamal Nasir, Nisar Khan, Ghulam Mustafa, Niamatullah, Nadir Khan and Yasir Javed all fell in the semifinals as part of a disappointing overall performance by Pakistan, who fielded a whopping total of 34 boxers in the event.
Waseem, who crushed Senevira from Sri Lanka in the quarter-final on Monday, faced even less adversity against Madan Lal in the semifinal and edged the Indian 19-12. â€œThanks God, I qualified for the final,â€ Waseem told The News after his fight. â€œI did not face much difficulty and am confident to lift gold for Pakistan,â€ he said. Waseem is scheduled to face Benson Gicharu from Kenya in the final. Benson got a walkover against Latipovr Jasurbe from Uzbekistan in the semifinals.
By beating Madan Lal, who had outgunned England-born Haroon Khan in the quarter-final on Monday, Waseem proved that he is better than Amir Khanâ€™s brother in the 52kg weight category. The superb show from Waseem must have convinced the authorities that they were wrong when they were compelling the Quetta-born lad to reduce his weight and play in the 49kg in the World Championship held in Baku back in the fall of this year.