Recently we reached out to Korean promoter Andy Kim, the head of AK Promotions, who helped us ask some questions to a couple of his most promising fighters. One of those fighters was former Pakistani amateur stand out Muhammad Waseem (2-0, 2), who made his debut last year by winning a Korean national title.
Prior to turning professional Waseem ran up a very solid amateur record, reportedly 89-16 (2) whilst winning various international level medals and appears to be on the fast track to success in the professional ranks.
We'd like to thank Andy for passing these questions to Waseem on our behalf and returning the answers as well as Waseem for answering the questions
AB-We all know boxing isn't particularly big in Pakistan, so firstly what made you decide to take part in the sport?
MW-Yeah its right that boxing is not given importance in Pakistan, however boxing is a very challenging sport, its tough, needs alot of hard work which matches with my personality and thinking which made to go for boxing.
AB-As an amateur you were a fantastic fighter winning numerous medals, however what made you decide to turn professional?
MW-I wanted to win wbo,wbc and other highly respected titles which was not possible to win in amateur career so i turned pro to fulfill my these dreams.
AB-Staying with your days as an amateur, what was your proudest moment? What was your lowest point as an amateur? And who was the best fighter you faced in the amateur ranks?
MW-Actually there were many moments in my amateur career which were special for me but there were two special occasions which made me proud one was winning silver in Glasgow commonwealth games, second was winning gold in combat games china 2010.however I got disappointed when I lost to Monogalia's boxer Nayambar [Tugstsogt Nyambayar] in an Olympic qualifying round in a close fight in 2011, he got silver in 2012 Olympics. He was also the toughest fighter I have faced.
AB-Although your professional career only started last year you already have title level experience, what was the thinking behind fighting in a 10 rounder on your debut? Was there any worry about the distance of the bout?
MW-I decided to go for the title fight in my debut because my coach Mr. Hong put alot of effort and trained me hard, he knew already that I would easily win over my opponent so I went for 10 rounds, I was not nervous at all about such a big challenge.
AB-Could you describe your style to fans who haven't seen you fighting yet?
MW-For my fans,I had a different approach fighting in amateur but after turning pro I have changed my style,some times I go for in fight style and some times fight from distance with my opponent
AB-Finally what are the hopes for your professional career? Both for this year, and for the longer term?
MW-I hope I will go for title fights such as wbc wbo in the end of this year and coming years to become world champion.
For those who haven't seen Waseem in action we've included footage of his debut below.
Over the week or so we sent out a number of e-mail to promoters hoping to get interviews with either themselves or their fighters. One of the first to respond to our request was Korean promoter Andy Kim, the head of AK Promotions. Kim came to some prominence last year for hosting two notable shows, "Homecoming", which was streamed in full on Youtube, and "Show me the KO's", which featured the professional debut of Muhammad Waseem and the Korean debut of former world champion Randall Bailey.
Whilst getting some news about both of those fighters we also managed to get Andy's view on the broken nature of Korean boxing, a real issue in helping develop the countries boxing scene.
Unfortunately as it's the first interview we've done for the site we realise the questions aren't the best, but hopefully the interviews we do in the future will improve, and hopefully Andy will be willing to do another down the line.
AB-What drew you to becoming a boxing promoter?
AK-Hobby became a job. I was in the music business before this, importing musical instruments. Then I started importing boxing equipments, then I decided to try hosting an event, then I liked it so I kept doing it.
AB-You've had a very international list of fighters working with you, including Randall Bailey, Muhammad Waseem and Mussa Kim, and this has drawn respect from fight fans. Was it an intentional idea to try and snap up international fighters or did they “fall in to your lap” so to speak?
AK-Yes it was my idea to sign foreign fighters because they are good and I figured it would make some noise since it's something that hasn't been done much in Korea.
Waseem sort of "fell in to my lap" because he was in Korea for amateur team training and expressed his intentions to turn pro, so I got the call and went to see him spar.
AB-Currently Randall Bailey isn't listed on the AK Website, was the deal for his fight with Shunsaku Fujinaka just a 1-off fight?
AK-After Fujinaka fight, he got ranked #10 by the WBO, but it was too hard getting him a big fight when no one wants to fight your fighter.
Because of Randall's age, I didn't look at it as a long time commitment, so I let him go and hope he gets that big money fight before retirement.
AB-Could you give us any details on your next show, or is it still just in the early planning stages?
AK-I'm not sure yet since I'm kind of busy, I opened up 2 gyms (one in Seoul, another one in Tokyo) and importing some new sports brands, but Waseem is set to fight on the 4/16 in London, England against an Indian fighter. He will be in Vegas this weekend to train with Jeff Mayweather at the Mayweather Boxing club for 1 month. Then he will be back in Japan to resume training with Dong Shik Hong. Mussa will likely have his debut on the end of February or beginning or March.
AB-We know boxing in Korea is relatively fractured at the moment with a number of supposed bodies governing the sport. Has this been a major issue in trying to arrange bouts and shows?
AK-It is a major issue that has been going on long before I entered the business. I don't even know the full story but I find they are more personal and emotional, and not up to everyone's benefit. Only way to end it is if everyone outside Korea comes to an agreement to approve only 1 commission since korea is too small to have more than one. Otherwise they will be fighting each other forever over who's original and who's legitimate and things will only get worse.
Not sure this needs to be explained! But here are out interviews with fighters!