PBF to field seven boxers in Baku qualifiers
ISLAMABAD—Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) will field seven pugilists in the final world qualifying round for Rio Olympics with the hope to seal a couple of tickets for the world’s most prestigious multi-sports event.
The qualifiers will be held Azerbaijan, from June 16 to 25.
“Yes, we’ll send seven boxers to Baku to appear in the Olympic qualifier round in different weight categories,” Secretary Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) Iqbal Hussain told APP.
The world qualifiers offer last chance to Pakistani boxers to make the cut for the Games in August. Iqbal said the federation was well aware of the fact that this would be the last opportunity for the country’s pugilists to claim Rio tickets; hence they were being given tough training at a camp at Pakistan Sports Complex Islamabad.
“Currently 20 boxers are undergoing extensive training at the camp under national boxing coach Arshad Hussain,” he said. at Baku,
Arshad, an AIBA three-star coach, is being assisted by former international and AIBA onestar coach Nisar Khan.
Though Iqbal said that the final lineup for Baku qualifiers would be announced during the ongoing week, a source in PBF revealed that the federation had finalised six pugilists for the event. “It is almost decided that Awais Ali Khan (81kg), Muhammad Tanveer (75kg), Amir Khan (69kg), Ali Ahmed (60kg), Niamatullah (56kg) and Muhammad Asif (52kg) will be vying in the event to fulfill their Olympic dream”, he said.
However, the federation has two to three choices for 64kg category, including the US-born fighter Umar Cheema, who has arrived in Pakistan. “Cheema may be picked up for the qualifiers as he seems in great shape,” the source said.
If picked the 21-year old, who has been training in Miami, would be the first US-born boxer to represent Pakistan in an international event.—APP