Mauricio Sulaimán – What a sensational week we had in boxing! From Thai hero Wangheng Menayothin’s ninth title defense reaching 50-0, to the U.K. with WBC Emeritus champion Tony Bellew demolishing David Haye, to the 5 de Mayo Extravaganza in which women’s boxing took a huge step forward with an instant classic, Braekhus vs. Reis, and GGG’s spectacular performance knocking out brave Vanes Martyrosian.
As I was flying over the Pacific on my way to Thailand, I could only think of my father and how much he loved the country, known as the Land of smiles. WBC Vice President, General Kovid Bhakdibhumi, greeted me with his warm smile and took me to The Oriental Hotel to Room 1010, which was my father’s favorite in the whole world. I attended the Asian Boxing Council annual awards event and was extremely happy to be with some legendary champions, such as Pongsaklek Wongkongham, Chatchai Sasakul, and many other boxing greats. Current WBC super flyweight king Srisaket Rungvisai was awarded the Fighter of the Year trophy.
Wangheng Menayothin defended his title for the ninth time, knocking out mandatory contender Leroy Estrada from Panama in five rounds. The little giant is now 50-0 in professional boxing after a Muay Thai career with over 350 bouts and very few losses.
Tony Bellew is on top of the world. He has cleared any doubts and is now glorified. Bellew has overcome obstacles, sacrificed and passionately worked harder than anyone to make his dreams come true. As reigning WBC cruiserweight champion, a life-changing opportunity arrived to fight David Haye at heavyweight, and Bellew would only accept if the WBC approved. He was appointed Emeritus Champion and as such represents the organization in all capacities inside and outside the ring. He has defeated Haye twice and even though fame and money has come in abundance, he remains as kind and humble as ever – a true pride of the WBC.
5 de Mayo celebration was a huge success. StubHub center is a great place for boxing, and this time was no exception. HBO featured for the first time ever a women’s bout and it turned out to be a thrilling contest. Cecilia Braekhus is considered the pound-for-pound queen and faced former WBC middle weight champ Kali Reis. Cecilia was knocked down for the first time in her career and had to work very hard to retain her titles by decision. The crowd got what they asked for and Cecilia announced a rematch! Cecilia was presented a beautiful bracelet as a special award for winning the 5 de Mayo co-feature.
Golovkin – who is now “GGGG” as another G has been added for “gentleman” – was determined to get back in the ring and fight for his fans. It took extensive work and extreme difficulties to put together a fight card in less than three weeks, but it happened and was a great night of boxing. Vanes Martyrosian was brave and took the fight to Golovkin at the opening bell, and even won the first round. Then came the spectacular demonstration of speed, power and precision, a nine-punch combination which ended the fight with fireworks.
The 5 de Mayo commemorative belt was awarded to Gennady and he wouldn’t take it off, understanding the value of representing the world in such an important date for the sport. The beauty of this unique piece of art carries the history of Mexico and its culture.
The WBC also began the long-awaited and very well-deserved recognition to boxing trainers. Trainers who crown a WBC champion will receive a special award, which is a belt inspired by the trainer’s traditional towel. Abel Sanchez received his this past Saturday.
There are many more great fights to come in this already sensational 2018 – stay tuned and be ready to fasten your WBC belt.
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