One of the many, many bouts this weekend for Asian fighters included Usman Wazeer (4-0, 2) win in Pakistan against the over-matched and under-sized Boido Simanjuntak (24-55-3, 10) for the Asian Boxing Federation Welterweight title. The bout was the first Amir Khan promoted event in Pakistan and was, given the turn out, and the pre-fight press, a massive success.
With that said, lets take a look at our Five Take Aways from this very notable clash in Islamabad.
1-Absolutely no respect for the Global Situation
Once again we start one of these pieces by stating the obvious, and this time, sadly, it's a bad obvious. The venue, crowd and organisers really didn't take in to account the global situation. There was no social distancing, there was no visible limitations on the crowd size and, mostly worryingly, there was almost no masks at all. Given what is going on in the world right now we have been left absolutely dumbfounded by this event. Not only was there seemingly no considerations for what's going on in the world, but also there next to no safety and security, with the ring being mobbed by fans soon after Wazeer stopped Simanjuntak. It's worth noting that Amir Khan's name was all over the event, with Khan being the promoter and the venue being the Amir Khan Boxing Hall, fingers crossed his name doesn't get dragged through the mud for the unsafe environment here.
2-Simanjuntak had no right to be fighting at Welterweight
Okay, another obvious one, but what the fuck was Indonesian fighter Boido Simanjuntak doing fighting at Welterweight? The tiny Little Indonesian fighter has often fought at Featherweight, and even he has looked small. He's a natural Super Bantamweight, if that, and going back a few years he was absolutely smashed by Super Flyweight Srisaket Sor Rungvisai. Who ever allowed him to get into the ring as a Welterweight really needs to answer questions here. It's not just that he was short, and stubby, compared to Wazeer, but he was under sized in every which way. Wazeer has taller, longer, naturally thicker, wider, stronger, and in better shape. If Simanjuntak wants to continue his career no one should be letting him fight any higher than 126lbs, Maximum, or he's going to end up getting badly hurt.
3-Asian Boxing Federation have questions to answer
What on earth were the Asian Boxing Federation thinking? We know the OPBF are the standard bearer as a regional title body but the ABF have shown themselves to be absolutely inept. The idea of a regional title is to act as a stepping stone towards world titles, and to recognise the best fighters in the region. Sadly the ABF have essentially allowed themselves to be a tool here of promotion, and nothing else. Usman Wazeer might be one of the most promising, talented and best Welterweights in the region, or he might not be. The one thing we know here however, is that he's much, much better than an under-sized, limited, well past his best, Indonesian journeyman who was 1-20-1 in his last 22 bouts.
Serious, what was the idea of this bout? Who thought that this was fit for a title? What is the ABF's ranking policy? And most importantly, do they want to make themselves seem like a fucking joke sanctioning a bout like this? If the ABF want to be recognised as a regional title body they need to sort this shit out....now!
4-Usman Wazeer looks class!
Okay we've been negative so far, lets be positive, and point out that Usman Wazeer looks very, very good and like a genuinely big hope for Pakistani boxing. Yes he was in with an under-sized, under-powered opponent, but that can't take away how he looked, and the tools that he showed. He looked like a fighter who takes the sport seriously, is in great shape, is patient, has good hand speed, a decent defense, picked his shots well, judges range pretty well, moves easily around the ring, and is actually very solid for a 4-0 (2) prospect. He could easily have steam rolled his opponent, and he likely knows that, but instead he wanted to do more than just over-power a guy. He wanted to show some of this skills. It's still very, very, very early days for him, but from what we saw he's a genuinely good prospect and someone worth of having on your radar.
5-Boxing can be big in Pakistan
Whilst we weren't happy with the seemingly none existent safety protocols here we can't deny that the crowd were hot, vocal and well and truly behind Usman Wazeer. The atmosphere was great, the vocal fans getting behind their man was amazing, and there does appear to be some genuine fanfare behind Wazeer. We have, in the past, seen places like China and India eyed as potentially big untapped boxing markets, but the reality is that the crowd here sounded much, much more lively than it ever did in China or India. With that type of crowd for someone who, in all honesty, is still a novice, the future seems bright for the growth of boxing in Pakistan. This had a party like atmosphere, a celebration, a loud, vocal cheering section and the atmosphere was more like the UK or Poland than we would ever have expected. The fans might not, yet, appreciate the intricacies of the sport, but with a crowd willing to get behind the sport and a new national sporting hero, the hope is that things will grow behind Wazeer. This was the ideal start and fingers crossed things really do blossom from here!
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).