Boxing is a world sport. It has rich history in many countries of the world, and is practiced with great success both in the amateur and professional fields.
International reciprocity among boxing entities is a must in order to continue protecting our sport, especially to protect the integrity of the fighters. Boxing has come a long way from the dark days in which it was very common to see those criminal pirates acting all over, putting the lives of the fighters on the line, committing all kinds of unlawful actions.
Some of those common actions were:
· Delivering fighters without boxing licenses, or without medical approval to fight.
· Falsifying papers and delivering fighters with fake names.
· Delivering fighters who had suffered recent knockouts.
· Contracting fights and paying the fighters a very small amount compared to the fee paid for their services by the promoter.
· Falsifying medical records.
· And so many more …
Boxing entities have worked together or independently to try to eradicate these practices. There are boxing jurisdictions that do not recognize other jurisdictions, but at least have licensing processes and, most likely, medical requirements for incoming fighters.
Communications and technology have been a great help in this regard. Let me share a story which is real – I was there, and even though I find it extremely funny, it shows how boxing was.
Mexican journeyman boxer Bruno Rabanales went to the U.K. to fight in the mid 90s. He lost by disqualification. He told his trainer, “Hey, don’t say I lost. We will report in Mexico that the fight got cancelled.” Upon his return, Bruno visited the WBC office and as he entered, Luis Medina from the WBC ratings committee, who had seen the result on the internet, told Bruno, “Bruno, so you were disqualified!” and Bruno turned and said “That SOB betrayed me – my trainer told you!”
Boxrec is a tool that has become an essential part of preventing so many wrongdoings in the boxing world, and I can certainly say that it has even saved lives. Boxrec is a source that most, if not all, of the members of the boxing industry use and rely on for so much valuable information. I praise Boxrec for their dedication and service to boxing.
Fight Fax is another platform which is used by contract and has valuable information on records and suspensions.
Media outlets, fans, and social media now serve as reporters all over the world, and this helps, too. Wrongdoings are known and clear and must be used as examples to make things better.
Unfortunately, there are still today boxing agents that continue to exploit fighters and promoters.
A few weeks ago, one of our WBC affiliated federations suffered one of these actions. The promoter of the bout in Thailand had received official sanctioning for an ABCO title fight. The day of the fight, he substituted for the challenger without notice, and brought in an Indonesian fighter who had been knocked out only five days earlier. Evidently, the fight in Thailand ended in a knockout win for the local fighter. ABCO is taking corresponding actions to maximize the protection for future matters.
A few weeks ago, a WBC female title fight was officially sanctioned between the champion from Finland and the No. 3 challenger in the WBC rankings from Argentina. Just one week before the fight, the challenger expressed her multiple problems with the agent that had contracted her. The champion’s promoter, who had done nothing wrong and spent a huge amount, was in the middle of a crisis. The Argentinian fighter went and fought. She lost in a decent fight, but then things turned bad as she got into terrible discussions with the agent demanding payment of the full contract, which was much more that what the agent reported to her.
This fighter left Argentina without a license from the Argentinian Boxing Federation, and presented a license from a so-called sanctioning organization called WPC, which should not be entitled to provide boxing licenses to fighters as they sanction fights for titles!
The Finland Federation and Finland promoter were misled. The matchmaker for the promoter learned the lesson, and will be careful next time.
The WBC has been working for renewing the “Boxing Code of Ethics.” It’s a must. There are so many simple things that should be respected and negative actions would be prevented. There is so much hidden information which could and should be open.
The problem is that every single country is different. Each country has laws which oversee boxing. Each country or region has different cultures and practices and processes.
Some countries have National Federations to govern boxing, some countries have state commissions, and there are countries that even have city commissions, so there can be multiple local commissions in one state.
Will a jurisdiction accept a suspension of a fighter from another country or from another state? Will a jurisdiction accept the Clean Boxing Program or the WBC suspension of a fighter in their region? It all comes down to each individual boxing jurisdiction, and it is the duty of all of in boxing to do the right thing.
Boxing is a unique sport, but I feel confident that governing the sport is now much more advanced and protected than it ever was, and we all must continue to move forward to work with all jurisdictions to make the sport safer and better.