The World Boxing Council’s 53rd annual convention closed today at the InterContinental Hotel. 750 members of the world boxing community were in attendance – 550 who traveled from abroad and 200 from China.
WBC President Mauricio Suliaman opened the morning’s general assembly meeting by saying, “I am very proud of the champions that have come here and shared this week with us. They’re family men, kind, and we’ve seen how they are this week with their beautiful wives – Badou Jack, Leo Santa Cruz, Viktor Postol, Gennady Golovkin – and our female champion, Raja Amasheh. I would not like to miss any names, but simply, boxers who are with the WBC are our pride. I’m very proud of you, Badou, and very proud of all of you who have been with us this week. We hope that you carry back the understanding of what the WBC is, what we’re made of, what kind of family we are. You go out and represent the WBC in every single day that you go through life. That’s one of my major, major satisfactions – to have witnessed the beauty of our current boxers, the way they are in their life.
“To have given Floyd Mayweather the Lifetime Achievement Award and the official farewell to a great career was also a highlight for us because Floyd, without a doubt, has been one of the most loyal and closest fighters to the WBC, and to all of us, in his 17 years as champion.
“The Man of the Year Award to Dr. Armando Ahved was special, as well. Just as an example – every single week, at least two times I’ve got to call him to ask for urgent attention for somebody. A member of the press in Mexico was walking on the street and he was beaten up so bad that he had a fractured skull. He was at risk of losing an eye, and they performed an urgent surgery. The emergency surgery was very expensive, and they had no means. Within one hour, and ambulance was picking him up and he was in the operating room. There was a fighter’s mother who needed cancer treatment, and there are many, many other examples every single week that Dr. Ahved helps somebody. Any boxer, anyone who is from the boxing community, he helps.
“The Clean Boxing Program will be one of our top priorities. It’s going to take time, but we’re working on it and it’s something that the WBC holds in great regard. I know that the British Boxing Board of Control have an out of competition system, and this is something that complements the British Boxing Board of Control, because in our meeting, I was surprised at the so many things that federation does throughout the year in complete silence. They should let the world know what their federation does, because they get involved in mental health, they do charity, they do drug testing, they do medical seminars. They are an exemplary federation, and we are going to try to get other federations with the WBC more involved with the British Boxing Board of Control. There was a meeting with the European Boxing Union this morning that was sensational – this has been a very special convention.
“The Code of Ethics for the boxers is going to be something that we also appreciate – the kind of work that the WBC has to do for the boxing world, and not only for the champions. Any boxer is a role model for kids, for society, and we are going to address domestic violence, we’re going to address social responsibility, and we have many different programs we’re going to show that we all can participate, because we believe that for the major concerns for the world, boxing can be a major way of getting away from the bullying and all that happens in society.
“We’re going to talk about the World Amateur Boxing Program. We know there are major concerns with what is happening with AIBA.
“Also, the amount of promoters who have represented their companies at this convention has been a tremendous surprise, with the knowledge that we are having a complete, true meeting of the World Boxing Council because many promoters from around the world are here with us.
“The WBC Challenger – the show is an unbelievable concept that’s going to change many things and rekindle opportunities for boxing to be present in more stages.
“The WBC Female Convention we’re going to have next month in Tijuana from December 10th through the 13th is going to be great. We’re going to have Raja Amasheh defend her title, and many other great surprises at the convention.
“As you know, we voted to modify the purse bid rules, and now 10 percent of the bid will go to the winner of the fight. That will give an incentive to the fighter, not just a set purse. That, of course, is only for mandated bouts that go to purse bid, but hopefully that model can be taken by promoters for the winners of other fights. Boxing is one of the very few sports that do not have incentives for the winner.
“We reached an agreement with Carlos Briman of Mexico. He is the owner of a financial system named ‘Value,’ and he is a multi-millionaire who is an expert in the financial world. He has been working to put a program together that will be available for any boxer for voluntary savings. Our intention is to have a program where the boxer can save money and generate big interest without any risk, and that money will not be available to them until five years after they have retired. There is a cycle where the boxer makes a lot of money. When he stops making money, he continues spending the same amount for a time – with an entourage, the cars, the happy life, girls, drinks. By the time they realize they’re not making money, they had spent all their money and they will never make any more money. That’s when they suffer that tremendous depression and end up broke, so they come back to fight, they put their health at risk. We need to have some avenues for boxers to find a way that they can save their money, because the money they make now has to last them the rest of their lives.
“We addressed the PBC, which is a boxing promotions system in the United States, and have come up with guidelines to keep supporting PBC, as we support any promoters if it is for the good of boxing.
“And Marina Sheppard with BoxRec and Dean Lohuis will continue to do their work. The Mismatch Prevention System will be one of our top priorities within our affiliated federations and with our affiliated championship committees, and to go down to the national commissions and national championships, because the mismatch, without a doubt, is one of the worst, most dangerous happenings in our sport.”
Numerous reports on a wide range of subjects were given by committee chairmen throughout the week, some of which will be detailed in the coming weeks.
WBC Medical Advisory Board Chairman Dr. Paul Wallace of the U.S. (left) gave a report on several of the most important medical aspects for boxers that included dehydration and rehydration, mouthpieces, ringside physicians, continous boxing education for every federation, WBC minimum medical standards, women’s boxing equipment, medical clearance of the older boxer, and head butts. He also said, “The 1st and 2nd WBC Medical Congresses were the best in the history of the planet,” and proposed that a 3rd WBC Medical Congress be held in 2016. The Board of Governors unanimously approved, and the planning will start immediately.
WBC Technical Director Bob Yalen of the U.S. (left) reported on the Gloves Certification Program and hand wraps.
WBC Female Championships Chairman Malte Muller-Michaelis of Germany reported on the status of female boxing: the WBC has 16 world champions from 10 different countries, and will have had 50 championship fights by the end of the year.
A video report was shown on the Jose Sulaiman Race held last year in Mexico City, which had 6,500 participants and donated funds to the Autism Foundation. Plans are already underway for next year’s race.
There was a video presentation about the Jose Sulaiman Fund, which raised $1 million in an auction with Hublot Watches. President Sulaiman added, “We have a policy that every fighter who is injured is automatically entered into the fund.”
WBC Anti-Doping Control Supervisor Luis Escalona of the U.S. gave a report on the Clean Boxing Program, which the WBC will begin in conjunction with VADA early next year.
WBC Ring Officials Chairman Hubert Minn of the U.S. reported on the seminars held for judges, and Bruce McTavish of the Philippines reported on the referees’ seminar.
Deputy Director of the Illinois commission Joel Campuzano of the U.S. gave a report on the amateur boxing program.
WBC Government Affairs Representative Ray Mancera of the U.S. reported on the program seeking a pardon for former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, “Pardon Jack.”
Office manager Nancy Rodriguez gave a report on the WBC’s new Los Angeles office.
A video was shown on the “WBC Best of the Year Awards” voting process, which is available to all on WBCBoxing.com.
Champions in attendance at the convention included (in alphabetical order) Julio Cesar Chavez, Jeff Fenech, Gennady Golovkin, Rafael Herrera, Larry Holmes, Evander Holyfield, Badou Jack, Ilunga Makabu, Erik Morales, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Vinny Paz, Viktor Postol, Leo Santa Cruz, Shinsuke Yamanaka, Carlos Zarate, and Xiong Zhao Zhong.
Promoters and fighters’ representatives in attendance at the convention included (in alphabetical order) Ulrich Bitner, Dejuan Blake, Christian Cherchi, Greg Cohen, Nicole Duva, Andrey Dyachev, Warren Evison, Gabriel Elorde, Johnny Elorde, Liza Elorde, Viktoria Fedorova, Philippe Fondu, Liu Gang, Sean Gibbons, Jose Gomez, Harry Gorian, Ryata Kato, Joe Koizumi, Reiya Konishi, Irene Kostenko, Jun Kubo, Oleg Ladik, Rouss Laguna, Sampson Lewkowicz, Tom Loeffler, Don Majeski, Yvon Michel, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Malte Muller-Michaelis, Art Monis, Aziz Munir, Ahmed Oner, Shamir Petrosyan, Titipong Pisitwuttinan, Ricardo Rizzo, Ron Rizzo, Joseph Rotonda, Brico Santis, Nisse Sauerland, Valerii Shumak, Naris Singwancha, Shingo Suzuki, Gevorg Tatebosyan, Sergey Tatebosyan, Zika Unisova, Roman Valesiuk, Riuya Yamanaka, and Oscar Zardain.
President Sulaiman officially closed the convention by saying, “Very unfortunately, what begins has to end. The 2015 convention is coming to a close, but not without the great satisfaction of all of us bringing in our hearts unforgettable memories and feelings. I have been very moved throughout the week seeing all of our dear friends and all of our dear members come together and work together to continue to make boxing safer for the fighters and to make boxing better.
“I am extremely proud of what the WBC represents. I am extremely proud and thankful of what every single person that belongs to the WBC does throughout the year. We cherish and appreciate all the time, all the effort, all the attention that each one of you take away from your personal life and your family life to support and to bring service to our sport.
“I am extremely grateful to Lui Tao, General Kovid Bhaktibhumi, and Patrick Cusick for making China a reality for this convention, and to the InterContinental Hotel and its manager, Patrick Houghton, who have been unbelievably caring to satisfy the needs of everybody.
“We are officially closing the WBC annual convention in this meeting, and I will make sure we put together a working plan for 2016 to be shared with everybody, and we all, together as a team, will work toward making it a reality.
“I started the convention with a quote by Maximus, who was a gladiator, which said, ‘What we do in life goes for an eternity.’ And I am sure that what we have done this week and what we will accomplish throughout 2016 and years to come, will mark in a way – even if it’s a very small way – the history of our passing through life.
“So I thank you all very much for coming, for participating, for being so special, and having the WBC as a beautiful family.”
The WBC’s 54th annual convention will be held in Miami, Florida, in November, 2016.