Muhammad Waseem, Pakistan's flag-bearer in boxing
Pakistan's Muhammad Waseem (left) wants to support young boxers in his country. (Photo by Neeraj Murali)
Dubai - Waseem believes there is a lot of potential for boxing in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan
While the vast majority of kids in Pakistan dream of playing that gorgeous back foot punch like their new poster boy Babar Azam and bowl reverse-swing yorkers like the two legendary W's (Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis), the scene in the picturesque Balochistan, the country's largest province in the southwestern region, is quite different.
The Balochi kids love to make darting runs on football fields. And those who haven't fallen in love with the beautiful game, hit the punching bag at the indoor boxing facilities in Quetta.
Muhammad Waseem is one such man who decided to hit the boxing ring one fine day in Quetta before embarking on a journey that brought him two Commonwealth Games medals and one Asian Games medal.
The 32-year-old Waseem is now a highly successful professional boxer who recently won his 10th bout at the Rotunda Rumble2 in Dubai.
Not content with his own success, Waseem is now hoping to help young Pakistanis chase their boxing dreams.
"I have been the best fighter in Pakistan and I started professional boxing at the world level. Now after my success in professional boxing, lot of good young fighters are coming up in Pakistan. I am trying to promote boxing in my country," Waseem told Khaleej Times during an exclusive interview.
"But young boxers need support, and in a country like Pakistan it's not so easy. So I have been in talks with my management company, MTK Global, to try and support boxing in Pakistan."
Waseem believes there is a lot of potential for boxing in Pakistan, especially in Balochistan.
"I am from Quetta. You will be surprised to know that in my province cricket is not the most popular sport," Waseem said.
"The two most popular sports in my province are football and boxing. You will see lot of boxers in Balochistan. You will see lot of young boxers in schools. My own boxing journey started from a gym in my locality.
"I went on to win two Commonwealth Games medals and a bronze at the Asian Games. Now I am a professional boxer. And my journey started from that gym in Quetta. Of course, without the support of my family, I would not have reached this far."
Waseem received a hero's welcome in Pakistan after beating tricky Mexican southpaw Ganigan Lopez, a two-time world champion, in Dubai.
"You know there are fighters who enter the ring trying to survive the 10 rounds. But I go with a different approach. I just try to win my fights," Waseem smiled.