WBC: Resistance to Change

By Mauricio Sulaimán – Son of José Sulaimán – President of the WBC: The World Boxing Council, in collaboration with national boxing federations and local boxing commissions, has revolutionized the sport, implementing measures to make it safer for fighters as well as to improve the dynamics of the sport in general, making precise modifications to certain rules to achieve justice, and modernizing boxing to bring it to the levels of other sports, using technology that is now a reality and serves to maximize justice in the fights.

Resistance to change is what so often dominates. Traditionalists immediately reject the possibility of even studying and analyzing the proposed modifications. There are some who, taking advantage of their position, abuse the power that it gives them, and even take actions to block the possibility of any variation/innovation/progress.

José Sulaimán led the World Boxing Council with a tireless passion to improve the sport that he so loved. Don José was visionary; he always saw what others could barely imagine, and he fought with determination to break those paradigms that kept boxing in the dark for decades. The decisions made by the WBC have saved many lives, dignified the boxer, and guaranteed a healthy and decent life after a career in the ring.

The most significant changes, without a doubt, are those that, through medical studies, determined courses of action to make this sport more humane, with specific recommendations based on science.

Going down from 15 to 12 rounds was a recommendation that came from the studies and research which the WBC sponsored at UCLA. The severity of the condition in which a fighter could be found in those last three rounds was determined, the physical and mental condition and the effects that blows to the head was thoroughly analyzed where fatigue and dehydration led them to fight with the high risk of brain injury and, sometimes, death.

The change on the day of the official weigh-in, to be one day before the fight, was another of the great change achievements. The dehydration that the fighter suffers to reach the official weight is, in many occasions, dramatic. That day when he rehydrates, where he manages to sleep calmly, without the anguish of having to suffer the weight struggle, so the general recovery of the body and brain, has been perhaps the most important change in boxing history.

Additionally, the WBC has been using instant replay in boxing for over ten years; despite this, we have experienced constant resistance in some countries. The announcement of the official scores at the end of the fourth and eighth rounds was also implemented, with the same opposition, and that has been the dynamic in the current world, where mummified resistance to change was manifested, and the abuse of power, based on egotistical and insecure characters, hold back the good evolution of boxing.

Administrative protocols have been developed. Limiting the number of people participating in the event has been an important factor in order to minimize the risks. The WBC has adjusted the “Remote Judging System,” which has been used in the past two years, to evaluate and train ring officials. This program has been used as an option to reduce the persons that are present at the event and has brought a series of great features for events during current conditions.

The Remote Judging system does not pretend to “challenge” boxing structure; it is not a threat to boxing judges and their performance at ringside. It is simply an alternative that can be used at these difficult moments. However, it is bringing a series of very positive alternatives for boxing. To have 6, 8, or as many professional certified officials judge remotely is bringing a wide new wonder to the administration of our sport. It is a fact that the more judges officiate an event, the less possibility of a wrong decision, period. It is also a possible fun feature for fans during a broadcast. Sports fans love statistics and information during the events.

Zanfer promotions, with Azteca Television in Mexico, promoted three shows. Those were aired on ESPN in the United States, and ESPN Knockout throughout Central and South America.

As part of the reduction of personnel protocol, the judges officiated remotely, with three from the television studio and three more from home in the United States. All six judges’ cards were the official scores, and the experiment has been an absolute success.

I appreciate any questions or suggestions at contact@wbcboxing.com.