LAHORE - Zulqarnain Khan of Punjab Tuesday clinched the Pakistan Boxing Council (PBC) challenge belt after beating Naseebullah Agha of Baluchistan in the professional heavyweight bout held here at the Islamia College Civil Lines boxing arena on Tuesday.

The PBC event, which was organised in memory of late Punjab boxing president Sayad M Ghaznavi, had two bouts on the day and with Zulqarnain winning the heavyweight title while Muzamil Usman of Punjab lifting the light flyweight bout title after a very close contest against Bashir Ahmed of Baluchistan.

PBC chief organiser Javed Ashiq conducted the light flyweight and heavy weight bouts in six and 12 rounds respectively with the support of Col (R) Arif Malik and Malik Saddique, who acted as jury while Bashir Shuja, M Babar, Imtiaz, Hameed and Imran acted as judges and Arshad Qureshi supervised the entire activity technically.  Zulqarnain started his title campaign in a technically sound style and kept Naseeb at bay right from the start. He used the combination of ones and twos most of the time to get points and maintained his upper hand throughout the 12 rounds. Naseeb, on his part, showed great courage and despite heavy bashing at the hands of Zulqarnain, didn’t step back for a single moment.

Despite having bruises and a slight cut under the left eye by the seventh round and similar condition of the right eye by the 11th round, he fought like a knight till the final bell was rung after the 12th round. In the end, Zulqarnain won the belt and also the prize money of Rs 14,000 while Naseeb pocketed Rs 6,000. Though the money is not enough to even cater the needs of the boxers, yet the PBC has taken the initiative of somehow benefitting the boxers.

In the light flyweight fight, Muzamil had to use all his powers to overcome the resistance unleashed by Bashir. Even as some points, it looked certain that Bashir had taken away the game from the hands of Muzamil, but in the end, it was a split decision of 2-1 and Muzamil sneaked away with a minute margin.

Later, speaking on the occasion, Zulqarnain dedicated the win to late coach Mahmood Yousuf Butt for bringing him to boxing and vowed to maintain the spirit in the game. He also wished to show the same dedication at the international level while playing a World Boxing Council (WBC) bout with the support of the PBC.

Naseeb, however, praised the PBC for taking the steps of introducing professional boxing in Pakistan and vowed to come up for another challenge soon. He said Pakistan had quality boxers, but they needed proper training and support, and if provided now in a year or two, they could be the world champions.