Mauricio Sulaiman column: Daniel Franco / Pope Francis / VADA Clean Boxing update

Every time there is an accident in the ring, our boxing community is stricken with sensitivity and even fear. Boxing can be a dangerous sport and we must always keep such in mind in any instance. and in all activities performed by each member of the community.

Matchmakers must do the right work and put on evenly matched bouts, promoters must demand such from matchmakers and must demand all medicals to be submitted. Boxing commissions must license and have medicals perfectly monitored on their fighters, and must have strict monitoring of fighters coming from other jurisdictions, including International reciprocity with other countries’ federations. Trainers must monitor the activity of their fighters, report any accidents in the gym or in the personal life of the fighters. The same goes to family members. We are all responsible to keep risk at the minimum level in every single fight.

Daniel Franco lost by KO in eight rounds in Iowa. He is in a medically-induced coma after successful surgery and the whole boxing world is praying. A GoFundMe account was opened and hundreds of persons have already contributed to aid the family in this very difficult process.

Daniel is a sensational kid from California, full of life and always positive. We will be praying for his successful and prompt recovery. We share this beautiful photograph when Daniel visited the WBC Los Angeles office with Israel Vazquez and Victor Ortiz.

The WBC will offer an in-depth analysis of the accident that happened in Iowa with the hopes to find recommendations that can reduce the risk for future fights.

Boxing is a great sport. It serves society in many ways. Boxing is the friendly hand which pulls kids from difficult backgrounds, those who have immediate access to an easy but dangerous life in vandalism, alcohol, and drugs. Once they enter the gym, it’s a life changer and it carries on to their families, friends, neighborhood, city, states, and countries.

I had the distinct honor to present to Pope Francis the annual report of BoxVal this past Saturday at The Vatican. BoxVal is a program which belongs to the only Pontifex Foundation, which is non-religious and has the goal to promote activities around the world to build bridges of peace and opportunities to less fortunate through our great sport of boxing.

Two major fights were officially part of BoxVal: The first one featured a Catholic fighter vs. a Muslim fighter (Saul Alvarez vs. Amir Khan) and the second event was the sensational doubleheader in New York featuring 4 different religions (GGG Golovkin vs. Danny Jacobs and Chocolatito Gonzalez vs. Srisaket).

There were many events worldwide which welcomed BoxVal and its planting of the olive tree with the participation of many members of the WBC and the WBC Cares Foundation.

There are many ways to participate, so feel free to join and help make the change in kids’ lives around the world.

Cecilia Braekhus continues to rule as the pound-per-pound Queen in Boxing. A magnificent outdoor event with a sold-out crowd of 25,000 (even while it was pouring rain) saw the complete domination as Cecilia, who is the unified champion of the division and the first ever to conquer the four major world titles, defeated WBC super lightweight champion Erica Farias by unanimous decision in Norway.

Women’s boxing continues to grow and make inroads in the major markets of boxing, and finally USA television is giving them their much-deserved opportunities. It also seems that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will now feature five weight categories for women, which is a great positive step.

The WBC-VADA CLEAN BOXING PROGRAM continues to work with much interest worldwide. There have been a few fighters dropped from the ratings due to their refusal to enroll in the latest publication of official WBC rankings. There have been tests all over the planet and the participation from most of the boxing community has been exemplary and highly motivating.

It seems some boxing jurisdictions do not share the same commitment to Clean Boxing, though, as a fighter who is currently suspended is scheduled to fight. That is up to the local boxing commission and their jurisdiction.

This will be a busy week for me in the U.K. to then fly back at the end of the week to Mexico.