WBF President Howard Goldberg Speaks
WBF Presidents Column May 2013: The next few months in the World Boxing Federation’s calendar are chaotic in a good way. Just watch the Schedule section on our website: There are fights scheduled in Mexico, Morocco, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and a few more countries to be finalized rather soon and of course we are extremely excited to be holding our convention in Saarbruecken, Germany in September where we hope to meet up with old friends and naturally make many new friends.
Having lived my whole life in South Africa, I witnessed the ugliness and horror of apartheid, where the masses were ruled by a small minority and where democracy simply did not exist. The minority ruled with great force and often intimidated the masses with torture and victimization. It was a sad time in South Africa’s history, but the release of Nelson Mandela, arguably the greatest man in the world, coupled with free and democratic elections enabled South Africa to become a free and great country. The bottom line is that inevitably democracy and freedom will always triumph over bullying and intimidation. Nowhere in the world should such a horror similar to apartheid be allowed to resurface.
The WBF’s growth in Mexico last year draws an interesting comparison to apartheid. It is sad that certain of our champions have been threatened and forced to relinquish their hard earned WBF titles, simply to accommodate the wishes of certain people who control certain television networks and other people, and like apartheid, control them through fear and intimidation. The WBF has never had a problem with our champions moving to other organizations, in fact in certain cases we have supported them – but all we ask is for these champions to make their choices out of their own free will, and not to be threatened to do so.
We at the WBF believe entirely on fighters having the right to fight for different sanctioning bodies, we believe in fighters’ rights to earn an income to live. They are, after all, professionals who sacrifice much in their striving to be successful. We at the WBF have never, and will never, threaten fighters or managers – we will never stand in the way of fighters who have other opportunities.
We will always strive for honesty, integrity and professionalism and rather than look at the other sanctioning bodies and how they operate, we prefer to look at ourselves and to do things as professionally as possible, always looking at how we can improve and how we can bring legitimacy to boxing.
Mexico is one of the greatest boxing countries in the world and has always been. The passion among boxing people in Mexico is virtually unrivalled. Mexico deserves the best. Mexico deserves having their champions being proud of their titles irrespective of the organization they represent. A champion is a champion! What Mexico doesn’t deserve are bullies who believe they are bigger than this great sport of ours. Boxing would surely be better off without such arrogant crooks who believe in intimidation and bullying, but are in fact the embodiment of corruption themselves.
PRESIDENT: World Boxing Federation