|World Boxing Council News & Notes - Nov. 5. 2013
By Doghouse Boxing (Nov 5, 2013)
Bangkok – November 5, 2013.
The 51st annual World Boxing Council Convention opened this morning at the Centara Grand Hotel at CentralWorld in downtown Bangkok.
In his opening speech, WBC Executive Director Mauricio Sulaiman said, “Honorable dignitaries, dear members of the Board, dear champions, and all of you present who form the WBC family: I stand here before you with a broken heart after leaving my father in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit at UCLA in Los Angeles.
“I wish I could say it is an honor to represent him today, but that is not the case. I am here speaking to you because my dear father, Jose Sulaiman, cannot be present after open heart surgery was followed by severe complications which have left him in a delicate state. His current condition is stable and he is working very hard to start the process to heal. It will take time, but he will be ready to continue leading this great organization.
“I am here to follow his orders, or better yet, his wishes. The WBC is his life. It is extremely difficult and sad for him not to be able to stand at this podium for the first time in 45 years, speaking to you, looking at all these friendly faces, and be able to thank you personally for all your actions of love, care, and respect during these difficult times.
“This precise moment is his highlight of every year - to speak at the opening ceremony of the WBC annual convention and address all of us who, year after year, find our way to be present at the WBC annual convention. This is the best week of the year for all of us. We dream to be here, sharing, caring, and working towards our common goal - to make boxing better and safer, and continue to have the WBC as the leading boxing organization in the world. I can assure you that every one of you holds a special place in my father’s heart.
“It is my father’s wishes to make sure that every single person in this room understands that the WBC is a solid oganization. Our supreme council, formed by the presidents of the 10 affiliated Continental Federations, is the core of the WBC. The WBC Board of Governors, formed by the Supreme Council and 25 other great boxing administrators from around the world, makes the platform of our organization, and every other person in our membership, representing a great diversity of committees, form the engine, and every individual sitting in this room makes the fuel which keeps this green machine running. Jose Sulaiman has been in the driver’s seat for 38 years and with our unity, hard work, dedication, loyalty, and trust, we can cruise with our automatic pilot until our dear president gets back to his normal activities.
“We are going to have a great convention - two years of hard work by General Kovid and his great team, which has prepared everything for us to enjoy in the Land of Smiles, to enjoy our friendship and brotherhood, and to work hard to continue to make boxing better every day.
“Thank you very much. Long live our World Boxing Council, and long live Jose Sulaiman.”
WBC heavyweight world champion Vitali Klitschko also addressed the opening day assembly. He said, “Dear friends and Governors, promoters, and boxers, I am very happy to be here in Bangkok at the WBC convention. It’s wonderful to meet friends from around the world and our big WBC family.
“You have probably read that I will run for president in Ukraine in 2015. I hope I have exactly the same success in politics like in my boxing career. Boxing taught me the all-important things in life, like discipline, hard work, focusing on your goals. I learned that - you don’t fight, you don’t win. You fight, you win. But the most important part of boxing – it helped me to explore the world and meet many people, and become friends with many wonderful people like Don Jose Sulaiman – our best wishes and regards to him. I’m sure at our next convention, Don Jose will be with us again, as strong as ever.
“I wish all of us a great convention here in Bangkok, and I’m already looking forward to many great WBC conventions after 2015 in my hometown – Kiev. Thank you very much, and welcome to the convention.”
The emcees for the opening ceremonies were WBC legal counselors Robert Lenhardt and Alberto Leon.
The convention is hosted by Asian Boxing Council president Pol. Gen. Kovid Bhakdibhumi, and was officially opened by Pol. Gen. Pracha Promnog, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, by ringing a traditional gong. A performance by traditional Thai dancers was also presented.
Colonel Bob Sheridan presented posthumous homages to Ken Norton, Emile Griffith, and Jesus “Chucho” Castillo.
In the annual WBC report, Mauricio Sulaiman said, “It is my pleasure to proceed to read the annual report of the activities of the WBC.
“It was 1981 when our president was invited to visit Thailand by the late Sombhop Srisomvongse and Edward Thangarajah to begin the journey which brings us to Bangkok today - 25 world champions, six world conventions, and today’s first vice president, General Kovid Bhakdibhumi, leading boxing in this great country.
“2013 will be remembered as one of the greatest years of our organization. The WBC stands tall and continues to lead the boxing world.
“The WBC had incredible activity throughout this year and to understand this concept, I would like to share with you all the WBC year in numbers.
“The World Boxing Council sanctioned the following in 2013: 44 World title fights, 28 World Silver title fights, 25 World Female title fights, 61 World Youth title fights, 32 World Muay Thai title fights, 44 International title fights, 22 Continental Americas title fights, 25 USNBC title fights, 25 Latino title fights, 10 Baltic title fights, and 18 Mediterranean title fights. In addition to all these WBC official sanctioned fights, there were 289 title fights from our affiliated Federations’ championships.
“Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez fought in Argentina for the first time in 12 years, and he conquered the glory by filling the Quilmes Stadium with over 45 thousand fans, even when a storm which lasted eight hours came close to canceling the event. Martinez defended his title as champions do, getting up from the canvas to win the last two rounds, and won by decision.
“The first ever world champion in the history of China traveled to Dubai to make his mandatory defense - Zhong continues to make history.
“Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, the only current champion in Thailand, conquered the WBC green and gold belt in dramatic fashion and is now becoming a role model for many Thai fighters who dream of becoming world champions.
“Leo Santa Cruz won the WBC super bantamweight title, and provided one of the most emotional moments of the year when he handed his WBC green belt to his brother Roberto, who has suffered a severe disease, Lupus, but is still alive and fighting as a champion does.
“Abner Mares won the WBC featherweight championship, making him a three-division world champion! But then Jhonny Gonzalez shocked the world by knocking Mares out in the first round.
“Danny Garcia defeated Lucas Matthysse in one of the greatest clashes in recent years - champion versus champion - a great fight, which made the WBC proud.
“Superman Stevenson became a national hero in Canada with his dramatic first-round knockout over Chad Dawson, conquering the WBC light heavyweight title.
“Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez visited Pope Francisco at the Vatican and presented an honorary WBC championship belt to the world leader of Catholism and earth representative of God. Pope Francisco provided a blessing to all boxers of the world.
“Floyd Mayweather broke all existing records in boxing - two great fights, making his mandatory defense against Robert Guerrero, and conquering the WBC super welterweight title against Canelo Alvarez – undefeated WBC welterweight champion versus undefeated WBC super welterweight champion, one of the greatest promotions in history – with Floyd earning the first and perhaps only solid gold championship belt.
“Our WBC legal team worked relentlessly to make sure justice prevailed in the CAS case in New York.
“Last but not least, our hero - the WBC heavyweight champion of the world, Vitali Klitschko - announced his campaign to run for president of his country, Ukraine. The WBC joins Vitali in his quest. We are certain that he will win. He is a champion inside the ring, and a champion of life - the best of luck, Mr. President!
“Our president worked many months to prepare this annual convention. Many important matters will be discussed and addressed. There are several priorities which will be the gameplan for 2014 for the WBC, and all of us here who serve in different committees.
“The ring officials will meet, the seminar and certification program for judges and referees will take place, and also some important topics will be discussed, such as: report of the use of the Mohegan Tribe ringside administration program; introduction of the pilot plan of the Jose Sulaiman 10-point must system reform program, which is basically a software that intends to provide a more accurate system for the judges to score with a more realistic platform. None of us can accept that 95 percent of the rounds are scored 10-9. We need to find the system which will give judges the tools to score accurately, using the technology which is available today and was not 50 years ago.
“The glove certification program will continue. Phase 1 was successful with the WBC lab in Mexico, and now Phase 2 is up and running with the lab in South Africa. The boxing glove needs to be addressed. There are many areas where we can make improvements, and this program is looking for: safe materials for protection and durability; to determine the life of a glove, implementing a monitoring system for gloves which are eligible to be used in fights. Undercard fights use worn gloves, some being extremely dangerous; glove placement protocol, chain of custody, taping; 12 ounce extra-large gloves for heavyweights.
“WBC World Cup: the dream comes true, after a regrettable postponement due to the respect and honor for the health of our president. The World Cup is a way for boxing promoters to find activity, and for fighters to search for important purses and world fame while becoming mandatory contenders of the division.
“Suljos and WBCboxing.tv: the pilot program of five years is finished, with great results. 2014 will be the launching year for this platform to aid boxing promoters and the boxing industry to explore world internet streaming of events, news, interviews, live events, and so on, providing great benefits to sponsors and creating an avenue for boxing promoters activity.
“AIBA: the WBC will continue to fight the monopoly and restraint of trade practices performed by AIBA using discrimination, abuse of power and extortion, threatening individuals and institutions, using the IOC recognition to run the Olympic Games as a force to try to dominate boxing worldwide, benefitting only a few and killing amateur boxing in most countries.
“Medical Committee: continuous research of the ring fatalities prevention program. We have just learned of three ring accidents - Frankie Leal died a week ago after a fight in Mexico, but only last year he left the ring on a stretcher in the United States; heavyweight Magomed Absudalamov is today in an induced coma in New York; Tyson Marquez left the ring on a stretcher in Mexico.
“Implementation of the World Reciprocity Visa Program to avoid fighters competing with disadvantages; cognitive testing program; implementation of training programs and seminars for trainers and corner men; antidoping regulations.
“Boxing is passing through very challenging times, and there is a need to act immediately. Our president has several immediate goals, and he will dedicate the rest of his life to accomplish them.
“One in particular has been a major concern to him and he intends to address it directly and intervene to do whatever is necessary to be successful - unity among all of us who participate in the boxing industry. Promoters need to work together, bury their hatchets, shake hands and work together, or at least respect each other and help the industry grow for all. This goes also to television companies, to sponsors, to boxing organizations, including the WBC. Boxing needs unity, boxing needs good news, great fights and opportunities to all. We must join hands and fight together, speak out, get up and make things happen. Boxing is not what some few bitter media bullies report. Boxing is not what some bitter TV broadcaster bullies say on the air. Boxing is a great sport, a noble sport, and it will exist as long as there is hunger, discrimination in society, and limited opportunities to the poor of the world.
“We - all in this room and many who could not be here - have the passion for the sport. We work diligently to make the difference. Let’s have a great annual convention and set our plans for 2014. Let’s join forces and live by the saying, “Together we stand, divided we fall.”
Journalists attending the opening ceremonies included, in alphabetical order: Sergio Abarca, Notimex; James Blears, BoxingScene.com; Jose Luis Camarillo, Esto; Silvana Carsetti, TYCsports.com; Osiris Mendez Cruz, Periodico Estadio; Jose Antonio Flores, Efe; Francisco Hernandez, Radio Red; Diego Martinez, Reforma; Dietrich Neu, Bangkok Post; Boxing Bob Newman, Fightnews.com; Francisco Posada, La Cronica; Alejandro Rodriguez, El Universal; Salvador Rodriguez, ESPN Mexico; Ludo Saenz, Notifight.com; Kittipong Thongsombat, Bangkok Post; Rene Umanzor, Record.
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