WBC Convention – Day 2: Ratings discussions begin, new projects presented


The second day of the World Boxing Council’s 53rd annual convention at the InterContinental Hotel was devoted mostly to ratings, which will be available soon.

Before the ratings discussions started, two innovative and very exciting new projects were presented.

Ratings committee member Dean Lohuis of the U.S. (pictured left with Dr. Marina Sheppard of BoxRec.com) said, “I’ve been with the WBC a long time. I’ve been very privileged that Mauricio asked me to do something that’s very important to me, and it’s also important to the WBC. As Mauricio mentioned, two of our goals are boxers’ safety and correct ratings. As you know, most major sports have a ranking that is transparent – FIFA football has rankings, tennis has rankings, college football in the United States, they have rankings. Everybody can see them. We didn’t have a specific thing in boxing to say ‘these are the abilities of two fighters in the ring.’

“Years ago, if people remember, there was something called The Ring magazine, and Ring magazine was called ‘The Bible of Boxing.’ The records that Ring had were accepted as the gold standard. Well, what happened with Ring magazine, they became embroiled in a scandal and controversy. A lot of people might not remember that, and they got into disrepute. Part of what The Ring magazine did is that they had rankings of every fighter in the world. That disappeared with that scandal. I was a young man, and I said, ‘I’m going to try to continue that.’ So for 50 years now, I’ve been keeping records and ratings of fighters on little index cards with comments.

“Mauricio asked me to do something that the WBC could do better, and we have found that with the cooperation of Marina and John of BoxRec, I think you’ll be amazed at the program they’ve put together. The rankings on my little cards correspond exactly, almost to the fighter, of what they have come up with. This is a very innovative process, and I think it’s going to be user friendly. And boxers’ promotions can go on this system and figure out if this match they’re going to propose will be a good match. The details are going to be provided by Miss Marina, and I’d like her to come up. I’m so thankful that she’s part of the WBC and helping us in this project.”

Dr. Marina Sheppard of BoxRec.com gave a video presentation and said, “I like coming to the WBC conventions because they are like coming to see my family. I’ve got over 80 brothers and only two sisters, because that’s how many editors help us do what we do on a daily basis, so I wanted to say thank you to Pertti Augustin from Finland and to Danny Van de Wiele from Belgium, thank you to Robert Verwijs from Holland, Nathan Palmer, and one of my two sisters, Misty Williams from the United States. They all make BoxRec what it is.

“Most of you know me, but I’d just like to say who we are and what we do. BoxRec is a professional boxing statistics website. We started in 1999. We’ve got nearly two million bouts in the system and 1,200,000 unique monthly visitors, and 15 million pages produced monthly. We are also the official recordkeeper for most of the world’s boxing commissions. There are 551,644 professional boxers in our database.

“Last night at 11 o’clock I released a new feature on the website, and I have called this feature ‘What If?’ It is on the ratings page right now, and it is a feature that will give a prediction that will turn our ratings into a prediction of odds.

“Now, our ratings are very complicated. After every single bout, the boxer’s ratings are recalculated and we continue to go back and test our ratings. We have taken our experience, and we have taken the last 15 years that we’ve been online and put it into the future. We all want to go to a boxing show and see good fights. We don’t want to go to a boxing show and see people get hurt – it’s not interesting, and it’s not what we want to do.

“Our odds range from 50 percent, with 50 percent being an even chance, to 90 percent, which would be a one in 10 chance.”

Television producer Mark Burnett (file photo left), winner of eight Emmy Awards, three Producers Guild of America Awards, three Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and five People’s Choice Awards, sent a video presentation to the WBC convention about his new series, “WBC Challenger,” in which he said, “The WBC belt has been won by boxing’s greatest past and current champions, including Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, Manny Paquiao, Sugar Ray Leonard, and Muhammad Ali, and of course, the current champions Gennady Golovkin and Viktor Postol. We plan to produce the first WBC Challenger in Mexico, which has a proud tradition of boxing and has produced many great champions. Partnering with the WBC is a key part of that new series, so that a new generation of challengers can start on their road towards boxing’s ultimate prize – a WBC world championship belt. Thank you for your support, and I look forward to seeing all of you at the WBC Challenger.”

President Sulaiman commented, “We have been working with BoxRec for many years. We’ve been working for the last two years on a specific program, which is mismatch prevention. It has been many ideas coming together with the final goal of a complete prevention of mismatches. BoxRec’s system will give forecasts of probabilities. It’s very interesting, and we are truly happy and proud because boxing needs to generate new content and information for matchmakers and promoters. It brings transparency – you can see on paper what the match is, and the most dangerous thing in the world is matching poor opposition against a strong fighter who is very dangerous.

“WBC Challenger – big, big, big! It’s been in the works for a while. Mark Burnett is a genius in television, very passionate, and we have completely clicked. He understood and learned what the WBC is, and his intention is to bring a new platform that will give presence to boxing all around the world, and to give opportunities to fighters. It’s going to start filming in April in Mexico City.

“We are very excited about it!”

Promoters and other fighter representatives who attended and participated in Tuesday’s ratings meeting included Tom Loeffler, Sampson Lewkowicz, Sean Gibbons, Ron Rizzo, Cristian Cherchi, Ricardo Rizzo, Philippe Fondu, Yvon Michel, Don Majeski, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Dejuan Blake, Nicole Duva, Joseph Rotonda, Shingo Suzuki, Pepe Gomez, Ahmed Oner, Oscar Zardain, Naris Singwancha, Harry Gorian, Aziz Ibn Munir, Brico Santis, Art Monis, Andrey Dyachev, Warren Evison, Gabriel Elorde, Johnny Elorde, and others.