Boxing

WBC's "Night Of Champions 2010" Event Features The Largest Gathering Of Champions In History

boxingby Pavel Yakovlev - This July, the World Boxing Council (WBC) will hold its “Night of Champions 2010” convention in Cardiff, Wales. The three-day event is scheduled from July 29-31, to be held at the Cardiff International Arena. This is the second WBC “Night of Champions” convention; the first was held in Cancun in 2006.

The Cardiff event will feature the largest gathering of world champions in boxing history, with over 100 current and former titleholders scheduled to attend. The convention will include a Civic Ceremony for the champions and public, an amateur boxing card pitting Great Britain’s best amateur boxers against select opponents from around the world, and a WBC Awards Ceremony for the champions. Featured also is the premier of the soon-to-be released film “Risen”, a biography of Welsh boxing champion Howard Winstone..

WBC officials selected Wales to host the event for several reasons. Boxing is enormously popular in Wales, evinced by the fact that 50,000 fans attended the Joe Calzaghe - Mikkel Kessler fight in Cardiff in 2007. The epic history of Welsh boxing is known worldwide. Located at the epicenter of modern boxing’s emergence in Great Britain in the early 1700s, Wales has long produced world-class boxers in proportionally large numbers relative to the nation’s small population. Numerous all-time great champions are of Welsh origin.

As explained by WBC president Dr José Sulaimán, "When we wanted to put it in the home of modern boxing, we wanted it where it would have the most impact, and boxing is very ingrained in the (Welsh) culture.”

David Walker, director of WBC Cardiff 2010, said: "Wales is a small country with a population of three million, but disproportionately, it produces some of the greatest champions in the world. "You could argue that Jimmy Wilde was the greatest flyweight that ever existed, and you could argue that Joe Calzaghe was the greatest super middleweight that ever existed. "What small country in the world can claim two pound-for-pounders?" And in amateur boxing, for example, in the last 16 months in international competition, they produced 39 gold medals. It's phenomenal. "They really do punch above their weight.”

The WBC Awards Ceremony will be broadcast on live television. Walker added, “The WBC Night of Champions Awards dinner will be the closest thing to the Oscars that boxing has, and the WBC is committed to holding the ceremony every four years.”

Two of the most interesting features at the “Night of Champions” are the premier of “Risen” and the amateur boxing card, billed as “Great Britain vs. The Rest of the World.”

“Risen” is biographical movie about Howard Winstone, the Welshman who became the WBC world featherweight champion in 1968 despite having lost three fingertips in a factory accident during his youth. Winstone is a national hero in Wales, and one of the greatest boxes ever produced by Great Britain. Written, directed, and co-produced by Neil Jones, “Risen” was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and filmed during the past three years. The film features indie actor Stuart Brennan as Winstone, and includes internationally known mainstream actors John Noble and Brian Blessed in leading roles. Remarkably, the cast includes many former world champions and leading boxers in supporting and cameo roles, including Alan Minter, Steve Robinson, Michael Bentt, Enzo Maccarinelli, Joe Calzaghe, Leon Spinks, Richie Woodhall, Tim Witherspoon, John H. Stracey, Jane Couch, Glenn Catley, Kevin Hayde, and Erik Morales.

The “Great Britain vs. The Rest of the World” amateur boxing card is essentially a dry run for fighters likely to appear in the 2012 London Olympics. The fighters representing Great Britain will very possibly participate in the 2012 Olympics. The foreign boxers invited to Cardiff for these matches will be of high international standing, quite likely 2012 Olympic participants themselves. Thus, the international boxing media will pay close attention to these matches to garner insight into possible results for 2012.

The WBC will be contributing proceeds from the “Night of Champions 2010” to The Prince’s Trust charity, which was established in 1976 by The Prince of Wales. The charity is one of the most respected in Great Britain, its purpose being to provide economic, vocational, educational, and social support to disadvantaged youth. Walker stated that in addition to raising funds for the charity, the WBC’s object is to “raise awareness of the Prince’s Trust’s legacy projects for disadvantaged youth of Wales.”

In a series of upcoming articles beginning with this report, ESB will explore the WBC’s “Night of Champions 2010” event in depth, including an interview with Neil Jones and a preview of “Great Britain vs. The Rest of the World.”

Tickets to the event can be purchased now, and are available at http://wbcnightofchampions.com/home.php

Article posted on 18.03.2010



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