World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman unanimously landed four more years in the job as the 58th Annual Convention began.
In an unprecedented virtual gathering, Sulaiman was confirmed at the helm from 2020 to 2024.
Speaking about his re-election, Mauricio said: “When my Father passed away six years ago, I and my family found in the Boxing Community, thousands of shoulders to lean on.
“We felt every second was a celebration of Jose Sulaiman`s life. The Boxing community embraced my family. It made a difference and it made a difference to me.
“I would like to thank all the Federations for their confidence in me. I will not let you down.
“Let`s continue to lead the sport, making boxing safer for the boxers. The World Boxing Council is moving strong into the chances we are facing. Your friendship is my inspiration.”
Watch the opening ceremony video below and see further down for highlights from day one of the Convention.
The ambitious and audacious WBC Virtual Convention in its 58th year is already well underway. In spite of the COVID 19 pandemic, we are appropriately distanced but united.
This is reinforced with the theme WE ARE THE WORLD.
Presented by famous Ring Announcer Jimmy Lennon in an elegant white jacket and black bow tie, and hosted by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman, they welcomed the WBC Family from all around the World extending condolences to everyone who`s lost someone during what Mauricio described as: “This horrible pandemic.”
WBC Cares Chair Jill Diamond said we have found hope and courage, can still find a path to each other. It is a moment that will pass.
A message from Cecilia Braekhus, who`s poised to try and break Joe Louis`s 25 successful title defenses, which has stood for seven decades.
She said how she misses everyone but the WBC remains a family and a community. So right now, please stay safe with hopes that there will be a great fight on Saturday. Mariana “Barby” Juarez said how proud she is to be a champion…”My blood is green and my heart is gold.”
Then the saddest pause for thought ever, in the WBC`s 58-year history. Page after page, after of those who`ve died since the last Convention in October.
Past memories with so many smiling faces in better times, of departed friends. The WBC has created a mausoleum section online with fitting and apt tributes to lives that are gone but never forgotten.
Following this was the tribute to Heroes of Humanity. Jimmy described those nominated by admiring others as special people who rise to the occasion, during the most difficult and dangerous times.
Hubert Minn is this year`s recipient of the WBC Lifetime Award. As the leader of the Ring Officials, he`s constantly coordinating work to improve the safety of boxing by further improving the already high standards of referees and judges. Plus other officials.
Hubert said: “I want to thank you for this tremendous honor and also my wife for her support. The officials and Mauricio Sulaiman.
“For the last 23 years, you`ve supported and helped me to become a better man.”
Opus is creating a book of the hundred greatest championship fights in history, to celebrate the Year of Boxing in 2021.
This will involve interviews with the champions themselves. One hundred Champions will be signing large presentation collectible cards and the funds raised from this will go to WBC Cares.
Tyson Fury was the first to add ink to paper, then Julio Cesar Chavez and Mauricio Sulaiman.
Last Year the first Champion of Life was Adonis Stevenson, who overcame a ring accident, surgery and has tremendously fought back.
This year it`s Jose Santa Cruz, the Father of Leo Santa Cruz, who has courageously overcome cancer several times and then COVID. He was battling on a ventilator in hospital and winning through to recover. He was presented with a special certificate and a ring.
This year`s World Boxing Council Humanitarian Award goes to Rosendo Alvarez, who has helped with so many needy causes.
And with his help, a gaunt Ricardo Mayorga is now in rehab battling to overcome addiction to meth
. Julio Cesar Chavez has vowed that Ricardo will be coming for further treatment in one of his clinics in Mexico.
Just before the lockdown, Mexico celebrated the sixth anniversary of the Don Jose Sulaiman Race of Champions. Then in March Women`s Day. Mauricio also announced that he is proud to have been chosen as an Ambassador for the Special Olympics.
The World Boxing Council Clean Boxing Program, which is so vital to the sport of boxing, is a top priority. Tests for COVID 19 have also been conducted alongside the more complex protocols.
Mauricio thanked all those who are part of this great program designed to maintain the integrity, health, safety, and fair competition for boxing`s present. And for its future.
There will be no Olympics this year, but hopefully next. Amateur boxing has to be maintained and the WBC Amateur league is helping to bring back basics, as it`s an important time to support amateur boxing.
The WBC has worked hard with its medical experts to develop a behind closed doors protocol. This is so boxing matches can safely go ahead, minus fans. But with guidance and help to keep boxing going at the most challenging time.
This is also extending to gyms, which are beginning to open up again in some areas.
The Opening Ceremony and the President`s Report concluded with many champions singing the WBC theme: “We are the World.”
It was heartfelt and with the worldwide contributions combing for magnificent melodic combinations. It was the best ever!