By Mauricio Sulaimán – Son of José Sulaimán – WBC President. I traveled with my wife, Christiane, to drop off our oldest son to school to start his college career at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
It has been a week full of emotions; Memories are springing up every moment. How is it that the baby that came to change our lives, who’s brought joy to our home, filling every space of our attention, is already a young adult, looking to his future, taking the first steps in search in the quest of his destiny?
We have been talking about many topics, and yesterday we spoke about the great boxing show on February 22, in Las Vegas. The night Tyson Fury dethroned Deontay Wilder, at MGM.
My wife commented that it is the most incredible card she has ever attended, the incredible outburst of English fans, their luxurious clothes, the beautiful women with their gala dresses, and the many children running around the arena asking for autographs from the personalities; In addition to the music, the British chants and the spectacular entrance of both fighters. The fight was dramatic; It ended in something that had never happened before, as the new champion sang “American Pie,” and the whole stadium replicated the song with him.
My wife has been close with Deontay Wilder’s wife. Telly Swift is an active ambassador of WBC Cares and have done events of the Foundation together, and precisely two days before the fight, they went together to visit Richard Steele’s gym to talk with the young people, give them a message and toys. After that, they attended a hospital for children with cancer.
Chris commented that she suffered a lot during that fight, because every blow from Fury, she imagined what Telli Swift was feeling; until the end came and the referee stopped the fight.
With the new world heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury took the place that Deontay Wilder held for the last five years.
It was in that talk that I had the opportunity to explain to my son what the WBC really is, the reason for our organization to be.
The WBC exists to assist the boxer: before, during and after the glory years. The boxer is born in humble beds, in difficult life conditions and environment, and has to overcome many exacting obstacles.
The WBC creates a secure platform for the development of boxing, improving the rules and procedures, for a more just, safer and more humane sport. And also to walk alongside them, celebrating their successes, correcting their mistakes and supporting them in difficult and hard times.
My son asked me about my feelings, after hearing how his mother described the suffering, seeing Wilder lose.
My dad taught me by example and, years later, he explained it to me in his words. Don José lived very close to the boxers. It was his life. The plaudits, glory and attention go to the winner: The king is dead, long live the king!
That’s the saddest thing. When the champion enters the ring, he does it surrounded by dozens of people, but if he loses, he often descends those steps all alone. His mantle is forgotten and gone, because there is already a new resplendent monarch.
I have experienced and lived closely the dream that the challengers to the championship have; they all have that indescribable feeling. Many of them don’t make it, they lose, and they go into oblivion. I have also have experienced and lived the change of life for those who become champions. That one day they dreamed of developing plus transforming, and how they perform to excel, when representing the WBC.
My dad taught me that when that bell rings, there are no colors, no creeds, no races and no distinctions. There are two fighters, looking to succeed. No nationalities, no friends, no acquaintances. And when it ends, there is a winner and a loser. Today Tyson Fury is the heavyweight monarch, and along with his wife, Paris, he received the Heroes of Humanity Award for his contribution to society.
Deontay and Telly are still close to WBC Cares, they will always be a part of The WBC family. Tyson Fury and his wife Paris are very active in WBC Cares, in fact, received the award of “Heroes for Humanity” for their incredible work during the pandemic.
Fury and Wilder will fight for the third time on December 19. The winner will be the champion, and the loser will have to go all the way back to the starting point and with it … the drawing board.
THE HUMANITY THAT MADE JOSE SULAIMAN GREAT
Did you know…?
Don Jose Sulaiman always got into the ring at the end of the fight, and went to the corner of the defeated fighter.
There he gave words of encouragement, salved disappointment with empathy, and tried to leave a positive inspirational message.
Then he proceeded to go with the winner, and there he felt joy for the champion, celebrated his triumph, wishing him success in his future.
Feelings and emotions that are poles apart. Genuine joy on the one hand, and abject dejection on the other. His consistency in this practice gave him, over the years, a unique moral authority and earned empathy with all the boxers in the world.
I never forget when my dad took me to start my studies at Winchendon School in Massachusetts. After spending a few days together in Boston, he left me there. Bob Yalen accompanied him.
We arrived at the school and, after taking a tour and settling down in my room, it was time to say goodbye. We walked to the car, he hugged me and said: “Mijito: today you are taking the first step to shape your destiny. Just as your grandfather Elías dropped me off at Harlingen’s school, I have dropped you off at this one; and someday you will take your son to his.
“I just want you to know that there is no pleasure or experience more proud or deep than having the dignity of having the Sulaiman surname. All your actions will have consequences, and you will acquire the control to do what you will do. And I know that in every moment you will achieve to be a winner, and there I will be, sitting proud of your way of being and accorded actions.”
Those words stay with me for life. I have never even considered a single temptation so powerful to attempt against the values and principles that my parents instilled during my childhood.