Mauricio Sulaiman column: Tragic Las Vegas shock, reflection on Azerbaijan
I would like to begin by expressing our deepest condolences to the United States, Nevada, and Las Vegas for the tragic terrorist attack that has shaken the world.
The united boxing world expressed deep concern and solidarity, as we all empathize – most of us have been in Las Vegas many times – and the city is, and always will be, one of the most important cities in the world for boxing. A minute of silence took place and three days of mourning ordered in honor of the victims and their families.
We have finished our 55th annual convention. All of those fortunate enough to have experienced this event have returned home with a warm heart and plenty of memories from what has been one of the best conventions in our history, since 1963. The city of Baku in Azerbaijan was shown to the boxing world. It was simply incredible to see its architecture, its cleanliness, the modern buildings and rich history, all in a land of smiles. It was simply magical – everyone was marveled, and their passion and drive was apparent at all times, having accomplished with great success all the meetings and goals set forth during the planning of this convention.
The presence of legendary champions, current ones, and future stars was spectacular. Vitaly Klitschko was responsible for making this convention a reality and was present to open the convention. Other champions in attendance included Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins, Kostya Tszyu, Azumah Nelson, Nino Benvenuti, Michael Spinks, Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales, Carlos Zarate, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, Viktor Postol, Regis Prograis, Jelena Mrdjenovich, Paulie Malignaggi, Christina Hammer, Yuri Arbachakov, and many others.
The WBC paid tribute to 150-year Anniversary of the Marquees of Queensberry Rules. Boxing was structured with a simple set of guidelines which have eventually been comprehensibly modified and structured into full rules and regulations, with the WBC proudly introducing many of the rules in use in today’s boxing world. WBC Vice Presidents Charles Giles, the President of the British Boxing Board of Control, and Bob Logist, the President of the European Boxing Union, are pictured here holding the banner.
All of the divisions’ ratings were discussed in the open forum, with all having an opportunity to discuss any specific case. The mandatory defenses of all divisions were voted on, as well, and the participation from managers and promoters from all over the world was very important. Pictured here – left to right – are promoters Nisse Sauerland of Germany/UK, Leon Margules of the United States, and Andrew Wasilewski of Poland.
The Ring Officials seminar and certification was conducted in a two-day format, with 115 ring officials participating from all the affiliated continental federations. Several priority items were discussed at length, including the Instant Replay procedure, the 4 and 8 round open scoring, the use of noise reduction headphones for judges, and a variety of officiating techniques and mechanics with the goal of finding uniformity among officials.
The President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Honorable Ilham Aliyev, received the WBC Board of Governors and legendary champions in a memorable gathering in which he shared his passion for sports and, as per his instructions to the minister of sports, a professional boxing federation has been formed and Azerbaijan is now officially affiliated to the WBC as country No. 166.
It was a very successful convention. The review of 2017 and the action plan for 2018 were seen through the presentations of the special committees with the open discussions and agreements for a diversity of specific actions to be performed.
The committee reports included:
· Medical Committee – Chairman Dr. Paul Wallace, with a special presentation by Dr. Chris Giza from UCLA.
· Clean Boxing Program – Chairman Luis Escalona.
· Ring Officials Committee – Chairman Hubert Minn.
· Jose Sulaiman Champion’s Fund – Chairman Alberto Leon.
· Mismatch Prevention System – Chairman Dean Lohuis, who also presented the Affiliated titles committee report. A full presentation and working plan with BoxRec was another highlight.
· Glove Certification program – Chairman Bob Yalen.
· WBC Cares program – Chairwoman Jill Diamond.
· Safety Compliance (30/7 day weighing and medicals) – Chairman William Boodhoo.
· Amateur Committee – regional representatives.
We will be constantly communicating specific actions and results derived from this historic event.
The Mayor of the city of Kiev, Ukraine – Dr. Vitali Klitschko – has confirmed its hosting of the WBC annual convention in 2018, and preparations have already begun!