By Mauricio Sulaiman
WBC President – Jose Sulaiman’s son
This past week the boxing lost a true advocate of women´s boxing. Raul Cruz passed away in Mexico City. Don Raul was a childhood friend of my father in their hometown of Victoria city. He moved to Mexico City years after my father did and eventually became a boxing promoter/agent. Raul Cruz was the strong supporter of women in boxing and he made a match which changed the future of the sport. He brought Laura Serrano to fight Christy Martin at the MGM Grand in the undercard of a Tyson and Chavez card. Serrano was a huge underdog dressed in humble uniform and Martin was the fans’ favorite with satin pink uniform… The fight was great and ended up in a draw. Such a fight opened the eyes to the world for female boxing and Laura became the inspiration of fighters in Mexico. Today Mexico has eight great world champions in women’s boxing. Don Raul was able to see the success even when he was not part of the promotions. He was proud that his work paved the way for others.
Women´s boxing has great success in several countries, such as Mexico, Japan and Argentina. There have been great champions in Germany, Australia, Canada and many other areas of the world. The USA has had its run in the past. Laila Ali is the greatest female fighter and she was very successful. Christy Martin, Mia St John, Lucia Rijker were sensational, but then it all faded away… Promoters and TV corporations didn’t step up and give women that much needed opportunity.
Today it seems that things will change and 2017 will finally give women the spot on the TV and in the promotions. Lou DiBella has been a supporter, K2 and Tom Loeffler have started to put women on their cards, Golden Boy has also promoted a few female fights. Showtime´s Stephen Espinoza has confirmed support for women’s boxing and that is a huge statement!
Clarissa Shields just made her pro debut after winning gold in two consecutive Olympic games and she can be the leader of the new generation. Maricela Cornejo has proven to be very popular and attracts fans and social media. Amanda Serrano is making huge news and can become the first blockbuster fight if she fights WBC champion Jelena Mrdjenovich and a potential USA presentation of the pound-per-pound queen Cecilia Braekhus.
Jill Diamond brought her passion into the WBC and she demanded my dear father Jose Sulaiman to create the WBC Women’s division. So in 2004 the WBC began sanctioning female boxing and Jackie Nava became the first ever WBC world champion. After 12 years we can proudly say today that our Women´s boxing program is one of a kind. Two successful world conventions with the third coming up next February. Medical research and a very close relationship with all fighters, trainers, managers and promoters, has given us the path to success. The WBC does not charge any sanction fees to the fighters to help develop their career. The WBC has implemented specific rules for their protection, including:
– Two minute rounds – The WBC bans three minute rounds and will never accept to allow this irresponsible proposal .
– Twelve round fights – The WBC bans 12 pound fights and will never accept to allow a woman fight more than ten rounds.
– Development of the Women’s glove by Cleto Reyes and Everlast.
– Mandatory 14-day before the fight and day before the fight pregnancy test.
– One pound flexibility in official weigh in due to the monthly cycle.
– Many more…
The WBC has worked very hard to bring dignity to the heroes of the ring, to search for opportunities and better purses . Female fighters have done their part. They are always in shape, never pull out of a fight, always on weight, and they fight their hearts out minute by minute, round after round and fight after fight.
WBC chairman of the female committee is Malte Muller and is working diligently to create a platform to showcase women in boxing on TV all around the world. There are many great things coming and be on the lookout as women are coming to box and to give fans their best in 2017!
A huge salute to all those hidden heroes who have supported female boxing thoughout the years:
SUE FOX, ARNIE ROSENTHAL, DON KING, TOP RANK, MERCEDES VAZQUEZ, ULRICH FROM SES BOXING, SAUERLAND, UNIVERSUM, PROMOCIONES DEL PUEBLO, ZANFER, LUIGI OLCESE, WANDA BRUCE, BARBARA BUTTRICK, RYAN WISSOW, BUTCH GOTTIEB AND MARYANN, ERIK MORALES, DAVID AVILA, NANCY RODRIGUEZ AND SO MANY MORE FOR WHOM I APOLOGIZE FOR NOT LISTING THEIR NAMES.
Thank you, and I welcome any comments, ideas or suggestions or recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy WBC