KARACHI: The law of averages caught up with Pakistan’s Muhammad Waseem as he lost the first bout of his professional career, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Flyweight title to South Africa’s Moruti Mthalane in a unanimous decision at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.
This is a hard defeat for Waseem, coming as it did in the title fight. Before this, Waseem had an impressive record of six knockouts in his previous eight bouts.
But Mthalane’s experience proved to be the difference during the fight as the boxer has competed in 35 bouts and has suffered only two defeats in his career.
“It was hard on Waseem,” his manager Andy Kim told The Express Tribune. “But it was a good close fight.”
Waseem lost on points; two judges marked him a point less than Mthalane, while there was a six point margin in the third judge’s sheet.
Waseem became Pakistan’s first boxer to become the World Boxing Council (WBC) silver champion in 2016, a title he took in his fourth fight, and went on to successfully defend it as well in November that year.
“I can’t say the decision is a bad one, but winning and losing are part of the game. Waseem took a little more time to figure his opponent out, and it was so close that it could’ve gone either way,” added Kim. “It would’ve been great had Waseem won it, but he put up a great fight, and it is not the end or a reason to be discouraged. There’s a lot more coming from him.”
Waseem, who is from Quetta, had to battle financial constraints and a lack of sponsors before he could even dream of this bout. He trained in Las Vegas with Jeff Mayweather for it.
Waseem has won the 2010 World Combat Games gold medal, Commonwealth Games silver medal among others for Pakistan.
Former WBC champion set to face South Africa’s Mthalane in Kuala Lampur next month