The WBC’s 54th annual convention closed at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood, Florida. It was a tremendous success with a huge attendance of around 1,200 that included many familiar faces, as well as a substantial number of first-timers who expressed their surprise at the scope and depth of the issues that were addressed, and the dedication and professionalism with which they were presented.
Mark Taffet, President of Mark Taffet Media, who was with HBO Sports for 32 years – from 1983 to his retirement at the end of 2015, and as chief of HBO PPV since 1991 – sent an email to WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman after his departure from the convention on Thursday that read:
Thank you for all of your support and camaraderie at the convention. As you know, it was my first ever, and I was blown away by the quality, majesty, breadth and depth of everything. It is the best and most professional gathering I have seen in our sport, and frankly I am embarrassed that I hadn’t experienced it until now. My sincere appreciation and kudos to you all for what you represent to boxing.
Mauricio, your father must have a smile ear to ear every day watching you here on the mere earth. Regards, Mark
In his closing statement, President Sulaiman said, “Well, it’s time to close the convention and time to say not goodbye, but see you later, see you soon in 2017. We are going to have a great year and we are starting it with a bang. The WBC is the WBC, and we are what we are because of these people, because of the so many members that are together making the best of the boxing world, day after day, moment after moment. So I would like to ask our senior Vice President, Rex Walker, to close the convention.
Rex ended the convention by saying, “We had a great time, we had a great convention, had a lot of good friends. Let’s all stay together. We’re all family and we’re all good friends that work together and advance the WBC every time we get a chance. I’ll see you down the trail – happy trails!”
The WBC headquarters are still in Mexico City, but the organization recently opened another office in Los Angeles.
Pepe Sulaiman, Jose’s oldest son (left), gave a report on the new office and said, in part, “The WBC L.A. office was opened on May 13, 2015, with a reunion of Mauricio with the committee for the first amateur show in California. Our Green Team, as we call ourselves, is Nancy Rodriguez, assistant and organizer, Cecilia Alvarez, photographer and myself – I just look like my father.
“We started off as a support to the main office in Mexico for sending merchandise and e-mails, and taking care of part of the social media and have a Champion’s Belt in case anybody needed it. Nancy’s knowledge of the boxing world in California rapidly took us to a different level of involvement and it has become clear the need for this office in the United States. We don’t make decisions in the WBC’s organization, but we serve as a liason with fighters, promoters, trainers and the boxing world in general.
“At the WBC office in Los Angeles, we have taken social media to promote the WBC and it’s champions. If you are not seen, you don’t exist, so we have greatly increased – world-wide – the presence of our organization. Facebook: from 400k, now 845 k; Instagram: from 36k, now 166k; @WBCgreenbelt: from none, now 13.3k; Facebook Live: lowest 60k, and highest 600k; Twitter: 96k.
“We have produced several videos that you can see at the WBC Youtube site (@WBCBoxingVid), with interviews and coverage of press conferences and other activities.
“We also work along Jill Diamond and Chris Mansur with WBC Cares with several important activities, including visits to hospitals – Children’s hospital and others; Elementary schools – Red Ribbon Week, Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day, and others; with Mia St. John and the “Saber es Poder” foundation; Parades with the Henry Armstrong Foundation; an amazing event – Happy in Holiday at Baldwin Park High School – planned with U.S. Congresswoman Grace Napolitano; visits to gyms; an art class for kids; Ruben Castillo’s golf tournament in 2015 and 2016, giving back to the Retired Boxer’s Fund at Morongo Casino; Padres Contra El Cancer 5k and baseball games, among many other activities.”
On Wednesday, WBC Medical Advisory Board Chairman Dr. Paul Wallace (left) addressed the assembly and made available an information sheet titled “A Recap of the Scientific Advancement and Needs.”
It included: Traumatic Brain Injury is an injury to the brain caused by biomechanical (trauma) forces. It is not a stroke or due to a restriction of blood supply. It results in regional and temporal cellular dysfunction, including cell death. In areas that survive, it produces a state of energy crisis and subsequent sudden chemical change of function in a portion of the brain connected to a distant, but damaged brain area. Surviving brain cells alter their use of fuels. It needs to be thought of as a disease.
General topics: MRI examinations are to be done YEARLY; portable MRIs acceptable (must include cervical spine).
Uniformity: Medicals, Standards, Protocols (computerized). Inspectors will have insured the minimum safety requirements (ambulance, ringside physician) have been met and knowledge of the emergency evacuation plans prior to the contest. Medicals shall be available to medical personnel.
Base Line Testing (Amateurs/Licensing)-MRI and neurophysiological testing (C3 Logix test).
Head Gear for amateurs: Head gear a must. The brain does not fully mature until age 25.
2 minute/10 Rounds for Women: Maintain current reqiurement; ongoing neurologic safety research.
Travel Time/Days at Venue prior to Fight: Weigh-in 48-72 hours prior to contest with maximum weight gain up to the next weight division only.
A video report was shown about the Jose Sulaiman Boxers Fund. This fund is used to help boxers that are now facing hard times and our heroes from the past. The Nevada Community Foundation, based in Las Vegas, has been designated as the fund’s administrator. The NCF houses more than 150 charitable funds with over $100 million in assets.
Donors include Hublot: $1 million; Telmex-Telcel Foundation: $750,000; Danny Garcia vs. Rod Salka $82,000 – the WBC did not sanction the fight as a championship and the money was donated to the fund; fines to third parties: $40,000; Bravo Tickets: $22,515; Teresa Tapia: $10,000; Fernando Barbosa: $5,000; WBC Youth Championships: $1,000; Virgin International Sports Promotions Inc.: $1,201; Swiss Boxing: $1,000; Tommy Ashy: $250; Joel Scobie: $250.
International Secretary and WBC Cares Chairperson Jill Diamond (front row, far right), who President Sulaiman called, “One of the most precious assets that we have,” reported on WBC Cares and said, “Our champions went to visit their champions at the Joe DiMaggio Childrens hospital today, where they got as much love as they gave. Later that afternoon we continued our journey of inspiration and watched delighted teens enjoy the experiences and lessons hard learned form our boxers and invited guests. It was a knockout!”
WBC Female Championships chairman Malte Muller-Michaelis of Germany gave a report on female boxing and commented, “We had a great convention in Tijuana last year. The future looks very bright – female boxing will be back on television in the U.S. next year.”
WBC Chief Legal Counsel Alberto Leon (left) won the 2016 “WBC Most Valuable Player Award.” Jill Diamond and Malte Muller-Michaelis both won the award for “WBC Committee Chairmen of the Year.” Andy Foster of the California State Athletic Commission won the award for “Commissioner of the Year.”
John and Marina Sheppard of Boxrec.com both addressed the general assembly this week.
John is also a boxing coach. The photo on the left shows, left to fight: coach Ian Allcock, national amateur champion Joshua Padley, and coach John Sheppard at the Doncaster Boxing Academy in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.
On Thursday, Marina Sheppard (left) gave a video presentation about several features on Boxrec, including what their ratings and “stars” systems are based on and how to use them.
Ring Officials Chaiman Hubert Minn of Hawaii led the judges’ seminar and Frank Garza of Michigan led the referees’ seminar on Wednesday. Both reported good turnouts and positive results.