Even though delegates flocked in all through the day, the opening day of the World Boxing Federation Convention in Saarbruecken, Germany already saw a busy schedule. All morning was reserved for meetings of WBF President Howard Goldberg and Vice President Jean Marcel Nartz with staff members from different countries as well as both the Championship and Executive Committees, in which new strategies were discussed and reports submitted on past workings.
The early afternoon was reserved for an introduction of the book by WBF Womens World Light welterweight champion Rola El Halabi. Hosted by the Saarbruecker Zeitung, the leading local daily newspaper, Rola read from her book and then discussed the nightmare of being shot in knees, hands and feet in the dressing room by her estranged stepfather moments before a title fight in 2011 – and her struggle back into life and, incredibly, back into the ring to become world champion once again. Everybody was deeply moved by listening to Rola’s story and most will treasure the signed copy of the book they purchased, which contains one of the most unbelievable fates in boxing history.
Still at the Forum of the Saarbruecker Zeitung, WBF President Howard Goldberg afterwards conducted the official opening ceremony of the WBF Convention. Both the Saarbruecken mayor Frau Charlotte Britz and the Sarre Prime Minister Frau Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer addressed the delegates, welcoming them to their (capital) city, before the attending WBF champions were introduced. The high-ranking politicians both received awards of acknowledgement from the WBF, which were handcrafted by South African artists.
Followed by the personal introductions of all delegates and guests, especially former legendary world champions Donny Lalonde and two-weight WBF Womens World Champion Christina Hammer as guests of honour, the German boxing federation BDF gave a welcome message through their vice president Artur Ellensohn.
Then Jean Marcel Nartz gave a thorough presentation of the World Boxing Federation, its history, its currents status and, especially, its philosophy which sets the WBF apart from the other organizations. “We do not participate in dreaming up new titles every week to become the farce others have become. Silver titles, Youth titles, Super titles, Diamond titles – the organizations doing such things are a cancer to boxing,” said Nartz.
“Furthermore, the WBF does not become a family monarchy where obeisance’s, hotel suites and first class flights for the president and his entourage must be paid. We also don’t manipulate our ratings to justify our actions, we fully accept the boxrec computer ratings. Plus our fees are simple and low in comparison. All this corruption in boxing must stop, this is what we fight for, and this is why the other organizations fight the WBF: Because we expose them!”.
Finally, Howard Goldberg gave a status quo report of the WBF’s sporting situation to all delegates, before General Secretary Diana Spasova announced the upcoming day’s programs and seminars. After dinner, there was the possibility of a guided tour at the Saarbruecker Zeitung’s publishing house, although many delegates preferred after a stressed first convention day to skip that in favour of their cosy hotel beds.