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Wish young boxers avoid arduous path I have treaded: Olympian Rasheed Baloch

I won’t wish young boxers to suffer on an arduous path I have treaded to reach the top. A lot has to be done to promote boxing in Pakistan. Pakistani-born New Zealand’s boxer Abdul Rasheed Baloch, also known as ‘Black Mamba’, has expressed these views in an exclusive interview with MM News.

Abdul Rasheed Baloch has been living in Auckland, New Zealand for almost a decade. He’s a citizen of New Zealand. However, he was born in Pakistan and his entire boxing career developed in the country. Abdul Rasheed Baloch had also been the former captain, coach and trainer of the Pakistan’s boxing team. He had represented Pakistan in Olympics. His boxing career is full of sterling records. In 116 fights in his career, he had won 98, including 85 knockouts.

Here is some of the talking points we discussed with Abdul Rasheed Baloch aka ‘Black Mamba’ on video link interview.

MM News: Considering your experience in Pakistani boxing, what do you think has changed over years and what difficulties do you see in the development of the game?

Abdul Rasheed Baloch: I don’t see any significant change in this field so far, but my wish and determination is that new boxers do not suffer from the difficulties that I had faced in my career. In Pakistan, Boxing had started in the seventies. For a long time the main issue was that Pakistani boxers had to prove to foreign boxing organizations that they were professional boxers. Now, we are able to change that and our boxers aren’t required to do that. Our organization’s license has made it easier for boxers. With our licensed, now our boxers can now go abroad and compete in professional competitions.

MM News: How did you get the nickname black mamba, what message will you convey to the youngsters?

Abdul Rasheed Baloch: I used to work as a blacksmith with my father in Hyderabad in 1989. During the job, I used to love hammer pounding. Muhammad Ali, a mechanic in our neighborhood, one day asked me if I wanted to go and watch his fight. I was taken aback and asked if they had boxing in this country because I thought boxing was in an American sport. He said we did have boxing fights in Pakistan. I went to watch a fight with him and gave my heart to boxing right there on that day.

My first boxing teacher was Late Allah Bakhsh, he had taught me boxing in Hyderabad. Then we moved to Quetta, there Ustad Ata Muhammad Kakar, who was called ‘Father of the Sport’, worked on me. I played and won many competitions.

 In 1939 we moved to Karachi. Here I got Ustad Jan Muhammad Baloch as my mentor who also coach of the national coach. Those were the days when I was first selected for the national team. Then I went on my first tour to Indonesia, hence, my professional and International career began. Then I fought in Japan and Australia in many competitions. Seeing my knockout performances during a competition in Sydney, one of the big promoters there, Angelo Hyder, gave me the nickname of ‘Black Mamba’, a dangerous snake.

Later I coached Pakistan’s national team and army boxing team. Eventually I came to conclusion that I couldn’t do much here for boxing in Pakistan with limited facilities. So after trying different countries, I finally settled in New Zealand. From here I have been doing a considerable service to Pakistani boxing.

MM News: What are the obstacles in promoting Pakistani boxing?

Abdul Rasheed Baloch: There are inadequate facilities at professional level in Pakistan. They need attention, athletes need trainers, good coaches, motivators and psychologists. We are all working on these things. Besides, ordinary people need to appreciate the Boxing in the country like they do other sports. We also have grievances against the media. Our media do not appreciate sport of boxing and boxers. We only want a little recognition from the media. Introduce our boxers, appreciate their achievements, it will be a great service to the boxing in Pakistan.

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