World Boxing Council News
The World Boxing Council’s 47th annual convention opened today at the Ramada Plaza Hotel on Jeju Island, an autonomous province and popular vacation resort off the southwest coast of Korea. In his annual report, WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán, pictured above with the Governor of Jeju Island, Mr. Tae Whan Kim, said, “Mr. Governor, dear representatives, members of the Board, beautiful ladies, and friends, when my plane was taking off into my friendly skies, thinking of our convention, my mind took me back to 1981 - 28 years ago - when we were holding only our 17th world convention in Seoul, Korea, and I was going through my fourth year as president of the WBC.. I was still a very young, anxious man thinking to do so many new things for boxing, with my mind being much faster than my actions.
Article posted on 03.11.2009
“Having lived my adolescent life as a boxer and having mainly boxers as my friends, it was then that I learned the sacrifices, the poverty, the starvation, the abuses, the injuries without care, the mismatches that boxers were pushed into, and many other problems in their lives and how impotent I felt at that time that I could not do anything for them.
“It was here in Korea that I realized that most, if not all, of the rules and reforms after my first election had caused little or no effect and had no results, that I just decided that I would not continue if I could not make the people of the world of boxing understand that if there was no commitment for safety, then boxing should not exist.
“It was here that I met a commissioner that I have known for many years. I love him. He is one of the greatest boxing commissioners that I have met in my life and I am so very happy that he is now with us – Jungkyu Yang. I also met the promoter, Madame Shim, and her beautiful daughter; also the old promoter, Mr. Chun, and his daughter Angie, who was at the time the wife of a multi-millionaire that gave his very best to help his wife in boxing.
“I cannot leave without mentioning one other name that I treasure and respect for all that he has done for boxing, Major Lee, and so many others from Korea to whom I have to take my hat off, because they took Korea to the top in professional boxing.
“This was also the country where, at the beginning of my life as president, I met some of my closest friends of those times. They did so much for boxing and myself that I cannot forget. One of them is my dear Frank Quill – I met him here for the first time in 1981; my brother, Edward Thangarajah; my dearest Shigeru Kojima, now retired; and Sombhop Srisomvongse, who died; Tony Martinez; Lope Sarreal, and so many great people of those times. They were the people that took the first steps for our total devotion for safety for boxers as human beings that we must continue to carry for the rest of our lives.
“The WBC owes the celebration of this 47th annual convention here in Jeju to his honor, the popular Governor of Jeju Island, Mr. Tae Whan Kim. He trusted the WBC, and I take this opportunity to extend to the Governor our deepest gratitude for his trust in our organization, with our commitment and promise that the WBC delegates will extend our efforts to send a message to the world that boxing will continue striving towards better ways of safety for boxers, for giving all boxers and promoters our relentless efforts for equal opportunities; for being totally against the abuse of people and institutions, and also to promise Mr. Governor and the world that the WBC will continue struggling to eliminate discrimination from the face of boxing, for being the most despicable of human behaviors with our promise to continue fighting, with our very best, for human dignity.
“I would like now to welcome the recently elected president of the Korean boxing commission, Dr. Juwhuan Kim. Korea was, at a time, one of the strongest and most active boxing countries of the world. Today, Korea is at its lowest ever, but I am sure that President Dr. Kim will work tirelessly to bring Korea back to the top of the world, as this country deserves. I extend my deepest congratulations to the Korean champions of the world, including my hero, Jung Koo Chang.
“Before continuing with my report, I would like to extend on behalf of all of the WBC, our gratitude to our friend, Mr. Jwa, and also Mr. Kim Yong Sung for their efforts to organize this convention.
“During those hours of flying when you are all by yourself, nobody to talk to, talking in the darkness to your confidant in the sky and thinking with nostalgia of those great years that have flown away so fast and will never return, my mind also took me to the troubling waters of boxing today. The financial crisis in the world has impacted our sport and if there are no prevention measures, boxing will dramatically suffer serious consequences and I think that it would die as a professional, serious sport within the following 25 years.
“Perhaps my passing at this moment through some of the most difficult times of my life led me to think in disillusionment, ingratitude, feeling myself as just being used, and so many matters of my everyday life, but above all, the passing away of five of my closest and dearest friends of all my life - my brotherly advisors, all those who work with me every day and minute of my life. I cannot forget the sadness that it was for me, the passing away of Mr. Edmund Lipinski when he was representing the WBC in a Klitschko fight in Germany.
“I cannot remember better moments in my life than those years that I spent with the dearest friend of mine, a promoter for 40 years, Yamil Chade, one of the best promoters that I ever knew in my life. I cannot also understand how God took my dearest friend and right arm in boxing and life, Roberto Jam, and also my two closest friends since I was very, very young. I would say more than friends - brothers - since my college years in the United States. One of them Graziano Bortoni, and the other one Manuel Aguirre; and the loss of my dear and inseparable friend, Raul ‘Raton’ Macias. All those in this year - all of those people, who I will never see again for the rest of my life. I have felt, as I have said many times, like a motorless boat at the middle of the sea with no course, and only at the will of the wind and the waves.
“But neither the WBC nor myself have been cowards. We have confronted the world with self-confidence, determination, perseverance and courage with our spirit of reform to take boxing from the savagery of the past to the safety times of the present.
“I would like to take the time to remember my dearest and unforgetttable friend, Edmund Lipinski, who became not only one of out strongest leaders but who was the organizer of one of the greatest conventions that the WBC’s ever had, in 1999. One morning, I was at my hotel in a meeting with Mr. Lipinski for the convention of that year, when I got a call from my country – that call telling me that my hero and the example for my life, that the person that I loved most, my father, had died. At those moments of profound sadness, I felt on my right hand the warmth, the care, and the love of Mr. Lipinski, who showed me in this manner that he was with me in the saddest moment of my life. That cannot be forgotten. So I dedicate this convention to the memory of Mr. Edmund Lipinski, my unforgettable and most loyal friend. His chair of vice-president will be always at my right side for as long as I remain the president of the WBC. And the WBC promises that we will look for the best Russian people that will work to take away the dreams, the hopes and the ideals of Mr. Edmund Lipinski, whatever that takes.
“Boxing needs a leading force, which the WBC has been for years. Boxing is now passing through a very dangerous time that needs the understanding, the unity of promoters, of boxing institutions, and the financial forces that have been supporting it to find new ways and harder work with passion to keep it on the right path with our leadership, our principles, our compassion, good rule and order, while confronting any and all detractors of boxing who continue every day trying to destroy each other and in the end, destroy the sport of our love.
“2009 was a very bad year for fatal and serious accidents. There have been done many things for safety, but we need to keep working for more. Starting tomorrow, I am instituting a boxing medical investigation committee that will review every single death in the ring, gathering iinformation from their family members, their girlfriends, their friends, representatives, doctors, and everyone that might have had any relation with the boxer that died. We must examine the training habits, the gymnasiums, and the weight-loss efforts. We want to know - what can we find that could lead our doctors to have new findings about reasons for accidents and new, important safety measures? We cannot just criticize and feel sorry for whoever died. We have to get up and work to find out why, and then prevent it.
“The boxing heroes of the last decade are either retired or close to retirement – Julio Cesar Chavez, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley, Lennox Lewis, Bernard Hopkins, Felix Trinidad, Roy Jones, Erik Morales, Azumah Nelson, Jeff Fenech, Veerapol, etcetera. The WBC will institute a committee at this convention to start the Nations Professional World Cup of preliminary fighters. We need heroes. We need new people who attract new people to the arenas, and we want to have a City, State, Nation, Continent, and World Cup, with boxers of four and six rounds so that, at the end of the road, we will find the new heroes that we are needing so much. And I hope that all the nations that are affiliated with the WBC, the 164 nations, will work as strongly as we want to for the finding of new heroes.
“We will also start a Nations Amateur Cup of Golden Gloves, or whatever name we can dedicate to that. We want to produce more boxers because boxing is going down; to find new heroes for the future, of national amateurs to compete for Olympic medals. And we would also like to finds the seeds of the new heroes of professional.
“There is a general belief today that there are only a few big television companies financially supporting the sport of boxing, but unfortunately, they only help very few promoters and very few boxers in the world. This is the reason the WBC will try to impose a new opening here. I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate Showtime, because they are now presenting a program that has much relation with our words, and they are trying to get, in the super middleweight division, the very best fighters of today to compete for the title. We want the WBC to strongly support these tournaments when they are rightly, impartially, and honestly done. TV Azteca also started a very successful, with full capacity crowds and high TV ratings, program that is going ahead with great success.
“The WBC, and I as President, are officially opening at this convention an internet network to show live boxing. It will be a guaranteed high-definition transmission, so that all promoters and boxers will have the opportunity to have their fights seen in the world with no discrimination, no favoritism. Its name will be announced at the meetings of this convention. This will be a joint venture with all promoters wanting to participate, not in competition with established television networks, but as an important opening of new doors for all.
“Since the year of 1976, the WBC instituted a hospital and life insurance which has been put in difficult times because of rising insurance premiums. We are very proud of having kept this important service to boxers and have just paid, two weeks ago, the sum of $25,000 to the family of the recently deceased boxer, Marco Nazareth. We intend to keep this insurance in the WBC for whatever it takes. It is the WBC’s obligation to keep, also, close support for the families of those who gave their lives for the sport of boxing.
“The four and eight-round open scoring rule has been a great success. We are going to go, at this convention, to ratify and definitely put it into the rules of the WBC, if the Board of Governors agree to that.
“Due to countless injustices and unfair decisions, the WBC started as a pilot plan for instant video replay of controversial cases like headbutts and punches after the ringing of the bell. It has been so well-accepted worldwide, with the excellent support received from HBO, Showtime, and other television companies at the fights, that it has been one of the greatest successes of the WBC in its history. The injustice of headbutts will disappear.
“No promoter, boxing commissioner, or any other member of the boxing industry can feel happy to see great boxing heroes of the past living in poverty, with tears on their eyes, and only remembering their days of glory, but with no boxing people to remember and support them. This cannot continue, regardless if they were exploited or if they threw away their money. They were, and they are still, our heroes. We must get together and find a plan to help all those dear, great heroes of the past live in decency and dignity. Let us find them a job. Let us help them medically in hospitals, for them and their families. We cannot let them live and die in the gutter. A special committee will also be formed at this convention so that we can plan a program that no ex-boxer will stay living without some income in any manner.
“Trainers, cornermen, boxers, judges, referees, nutritionists, ring doctors, and we, the commissioners, need consistent training. Boxing brings new things every day. Whoever thinks that he or she knows everything in boxing are those that need it most. I am starting at this convention also, which is of great need, the WBC to create a committee for a virtual program, by internet, under the umbrella of the WBC World School of Boxing. So everybody, in any capacity in boxing, will have the opportunity to consult it for our own good. All experts of boxing, of each and every category, will be invited to participate in addition to those that the WBC selects.
“We are all very proud of our benevolent WBC Cares, so fantastically directed by our dear Jill Diamond. With so many visits, toys, little gloves, love, and courage taken by so many of our champions to the children’s hospitals that we have visited in different cities of the world, the WBC has brought a mental attitude to all children in hospitals to get up from the canvas and get up to win. At this convention, I intend to form a new committee to seek sponsorships to help this great committee in their efforts. Every gift, every help that will be given to the WBC Cares will be a blessing from God to everyone that helps us. Independently of sanction fees, I intend to set specific programs for merchandising, membership, annual lotteries, and many other things because I have come to the conclusion that many of the fights are not being reciprocated to the WBC as they should. We need to get some other income so that the WBC can work continuously to help the 164 affiliated countries of the world.
“There are so many things to do that the longer we live, the harder it gets. We must try to bring some compassion to the minds of all boxing people who use our sport as an industry and which should not be only a way to make money.
“We must work harder and explain to some TV corporations that boxers are not born as champions and that they come from the very low levels of society and need many years to develop. There is not one single boxer that does not dream of winning an Olympic medal, and later to become a professional champion of the world. In this field, it’s the time when they become attractive for television. It is, with institutions like the WBC, that television networks live projecting the top of the cream.
“After seeing so many heroes fall in disgrace at the end of their brilliant careers, we need to let promoters and managers know and understand that the managing and promoting of a fighter is not only to sign them for good money and good fights. It is just as important to help them to know how to protect and keep the money that they make for them not to end up in the slums, as we so constantly see. The WBC will start a financial committee for this purpose.
“There are so many more dreams that I continue having, as I feel that the day that I stop dreaming, that will be the end of my life. I cannot hide that sometimes I feel disillusioned, betrayed, frustrated, and very sad when my heart is hurt, because I have the heart of a child, as it is a very lonely place at the top. But I have learned through the years to keep all that within myself, as this is the price that leaders, someday, must pay.
“A leader is committed to service of others, especially for the ones in need, without expecting anything in return. A leader is a servant of the people, a servant of his institution, the servant to keep the principles and goals, or he is not a leader.
“I have never begged, nor based any of my acts on the changing moods and the pressures of the moment, even when we have had so many in recent years. I have never allowed myself to be carried by any fears or questionings from the media, as I can never act as a participant in a popularity contest. Neither can I be a slave or be responsible for acts under the influences of vested interests, nor have I ever responded to jealousy, envy, hate, bitterness, which seems to be so open in our world of boxing today.
“It just happens that my personal temperament rebels when I perceive abuse, injustice, and inhumanity. I am proud to say that I have never kissed any hand, nor have I ever begged for sympathy. I have always acted with confidence in our integrity, with courage and a strong determination to take any action in the interest of justice.
“I would llike to end my report by extending our deepest appreciation to all our promoters who, thanks to their work, boxing keeps being alive; to all our trainers, who do so much for the physical and technical conditions of our boxers; to all my colleagues, the boxing commissioners, for their tireless work to keep boxing safe; to all the members of the media, without whom we would not have an open communication line for the benefit of our sport and for our expressions of our plans - boxing would not be the same; to governments, like this one in Jeju under the leadership of Governor Tae Whan Kim, for their sponsoring of our convention and having faith in us for the future of boxing.
“Regardless of how tired, disillusioned, and frustrated as I might be sometimes, my heart is always happy to see every one of the faces of all of you coming to our convention. I will never be able to find the right words to represent my profound gratitude for all the strong support and affectionate friendship that I have always received from each one of you. For my beloved friends of the 10 Confederations; to all the members of the ABU, my dearest Houcine Houchi, whose father nominated me for the first time for the presidency of the WBC back in 1975; to ABCO, my dear friend and great leader of boxing in Asia, General Kovid Bhakdibhumi; my dearest EBU, founder of the WBC, its president today, Bob Logist, and my dearest lady of all time in the WBC, Enza Jacoponi; to the British Boxing Board of Control, also a founder of the WBC, one of my most respected commissioners in the world, as my friend is, Charlie Giles; to the OPBF, a young boxing lover as Mr. Yasukochi; to CABOFE, the friend of everybody and the master of honesty, rule, and order, my dearest Roy Van Putten and its new president, just recently elected; to the South American Boxing Federation, my respected Don Carlos; and last but not least, to the new CISSB president, the hard-working Mr. Denisov.
“I cannot, either, express the appreciation and love that I have for all those who sacrifice every day of their lives to be of service to the WBC and boxing, all those that are close to me in the WBC offices in Mexico, who give their lives to be of help and support to all of the 164 nations that form the WBC. To them, my deepest, deepest appreciation; to Juanito, Gaby, Robert, and my other close working friends, my love to all of them; to a person that I have in front of me, and who changed the medical spirit since 1985, Dr. Gerald Finerman, who is my hero. Also, I cannot leave without mentioning my deepest appreciation to all the chairmen of the WBC regional title committees. They work so hard with dedication and perseverance that I tip my hat to all of them.
“As a human being that I am, I have made many mistakes in my life, all done in good faith, and I ask all of you for your forgiveness and understanding. I have been a leader with an unexceptional respect for democracy. I have always defended all the problems of our affiliates as if they were mine, with passion, with self-confidence, and unwavering courage - always. I would like to solemnly confirm that I would not doubt, for one single moment of my life, that boxing and all of you have given me a meaning and a purpose to live. And the biggest treasure obtained from my pilgrimage in the sport, and my own life, is the priceless jewel of my friendship with each one of you.
“I never thought, when I was a child, that I would come from the 800 people of that town to the gigantic Mexico City, and I never thought, when I was a child and receiving many punches, that someday I would become the president of the WBC. Today, I am very proud that those of you of my generation, and those of the generation that has gone past, we have complied to the world by giving our very best to have left a mark of our passing through life. And I hope what we have done will be an example to follow for many generations to come.
“Thank you so much.”
The masters of ceremonies for the convention are Executive Director Mauricio Sulaiman of Mexico and Legal Counselor Gabriel Penagaricano of Puerto Rico.
WORLD BOXING COUNCIL NEWS
November 3, 2009 – Jeju, Republic of Korea
The Tuesday morning general assembly meeting at the WBC’s 47th annual convention saw the announcement of two major new projects of the WBC. One was two new webpages created by WBC President Dr. José Sulaimán - wbcboxing.tv and suljos.tv - and the other was the creation of a series of amateur and four and six-round professional boxing tournaments.
Webmaster Gianni Armetta of Milan, Italy, gave a sensational presentation of the new webpages that showed the extremely high quality of the video and including clips of the recent Giacobbe Fragomeni-Krzystof Wlodarczyk WBC cruiserweight world championship fight.
President Sulaiman said, “The WBC made it official today. Wbcboxing.tv is going to be one greatest things ever thought about, especially for all the promoters and all boxers of the world that have very few opportunities for the public.
“The internet is one of the unquestionable places for action the future, and I believe that the future is unlimited. Gianny gave an amazing presentation. We’ve been working on this for five years. The main importance of these webpages is that they’re not going against the established televisions networks of the world. They’re only going to the promoters and the boxers that currently have no opportunities. This is a new door that is open for them.
“Wbcboxing.tv will be exclusively for boxing – live boxing, on-demand, and any other boxing programs. Suljos.tv will be for all other sports and entertainment. We are in the process of being able to show these on mobile phones - we are talking to the owners ot the mobile systems.
“I believe that this is a time of transition. The great boxers of the last decade have gone or will be gone in this coming year. We desperately need new heroes, new idols, because boxing without idols is not interesting. The amateur tournament will be to bring new idols from the 90 percent of independent amateur boxers in the world. We are not intervening with AIBA [International Amateur Boxing Federation], we are not intervening with federated boxing. We are just going to the 90 percent of the free boxers of the world that are in the hands of professional trainers. All those will be without offending anybody. We will try to be friendly with AIBA, but if they want war, they will have it. And everybody knows that the WBC is a warrior, and we have been offended. But still, this is not a project against anybody. This is a project for the good of boxing.
“The internet is offered to all of the promoters of the world. The amateur tournaments and four to six-round tournaments is for all the WBC promoters of the world, the professional promoters, the professional trainers. Could the new tournaments be shown on our internet networks? Why not? Yes, they could go together.”
Part of the morning general assembly meeting and all of the afternoon session were devoted to ratings, which will be published soon. Promoters in attendance included: Salvatore Cherchi (OPI 2000) of Italy; Akihiko Honda (Teiken Promotions) and Joe Koizumi (matchmaker) of Japan; Bobby Goodman (Square Ring Promotions), Gary Shaw (Gary Shaw Productions), Art Pelullo (Banner Promotions), Tom Loeffler (K2 Promotions), Alex Camponova (Thompson Promotions), and Ron Rizzo (DiBella Entertainment) of the United States; Yvon Michel (GYM) of Canada; Dietmar Poszwa (Universum) and Malte Muller (Arena-Box Promotion) of Germany; Pepe Gomez (Cancun Box Promotions) and Hector Garcia of Mexico; Philippe Fondu (Hatton Promotions) of England; Liu Gang (Zovi Promotions) of China; Andrew Wasilewski (Bullit Knockout Promotions) of Poland; Virat Vachirarattanawonge (Petchyindee Promotions), Naris Singwancha, Kokiet Panichayarom and Eddie Toomkit (Kokiet Group), and Scott Mallon (Top Rated Promotions) of Thailand; Bebot Elorde of the Philippines; Alexander A. Krassyuk (K2 East) and Roman Valesyuk (Elite Promotions) of Ukraine; and Bernard Roose (R2 Image and Events) of Switzerland.
Journalists in attendance at the general assembly meetings included James Blears of Reuters, Jose Luis Camarillo of Esto, Bob Newman of Fightnews.com, Sergio Abarca of Levitty, Ludo Saenz of Notifight.com, Jose Torres of Efe, and photographers Sumio Yamada and Carlos Baeza.
Also at the Tuesday meeting, Claude Jackson of the North American Boxing Federation was confirmed as a new WBC International Secretary.
The very sad news was announced that long-time WBC ring official Lou Filippo had passed away in Los Angeles. President Sulaiman asked for a moment of silence and tolled a 10 count in his honor. An inductee in the World Boxing Hall of Fame as a ring official, Lou was 83 years old.
WBC Ring Officials Board Chairman Hubert Minn of the United States led the seminar for judges on Tuesday morning. The afternoon seminar for referees was led by WBC Ring Officials Board Secretary Bruce McTavish of the Philippines.
WBC welterweight world champion Andre Berto and number three-ranked super middleweight contender and Super Six World Boxing Classic participant Andre Dirrell, both of the United States, were also in attendance at the morning general assembly meeting. They accompanied WBC Cares Chairperson Jill Diamond on a WBC Cares visit during the afternoon.
Jill said, “Today, 25 WBC Cares Goodwill Ambassadors and two super heroes, Andre Berto and Andre Dirrell, visited the Jeju Orphanage. The facility houses 110 children ranging in age from infants through high school, and one 11 year-old dog who watched us carefully, but from a distance. To credit the orphanage, you would not have known their circumstances were unhappy.
“These children responded to our hugs with giggles and affection. Thanks to the Reyes family, Stephen Blea, Lena Van de Wiele, and the WBC, we brought them little gifts and wristbands. And thanks to our two Andres, we brought them laughter and a demonstartion in how to throw the perfect punch. In return, the children delighted in showing us their Karate kicks. It was a very gratifying afternoon."
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