By Boxing Bob Newman
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
Day two of the 30th annual IBF convention saw a veritable mix of atmospheric changes both inside and out during the day’s events. After breakfast, the day started with a city tour throughout Berlin. Since reunification over twenty years ago, many changes have happened throughout the city, most notably on the former East Berlin side. Change has been cosmetic as well as mentally among the inhabitants of the former communist ruled GDR (German Democratic Republic, or East Germany).
The weather threatened throughout the day, with foreboding clouds blanketing the skies, and intermittently releasing a torrent of rain across the city. Fortunately, some of the portions of the tour where photos ops off the bus were available, the skies relented. One such spot was along the Spree river, near the Oberbaum Bridge, where a large portion of The Berlin Wall still stands. A stark reminder of communist rule and oppression, these segments of barrier now display art- often evoking floods of emotion, even to those of us who didn’t live through this imprisonment. From 1961 to 1989, West Berlin was surrounded by a 12 foot high concrete wall, often topped with barbed wire. Inside the segments of wall that ran along the Spree, there was what was called the “Dead Zone,” followed by a smaller wall, then the river- an almost impenetrable obstacle for East German residents to overcome.
The Brandenburg Gate stop was accompanied by a downpour, but most got of the bus for what was for many, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The gate was built between 1988 and 1791. The goddess Viktoria and her horse drawn “Quadriga,” which sits atop the gate, was stolen by Napoleon in 1806 and brought to Paris. The chariot and goddess were returned atop the Brandenburg Gate in 1814 after Germany (then Prussia ), returned the beating to Napoleon.
With the tour ending slightly after mid day, the afternoon was free until this evening’s “Meet the Champions” cocktail social. Several past and even current IBF world and regional champions were in attendance at the event. Mingling with guests and posing for photos were current #1 IBF heavyweight contender Kubrat Pulev, former IBF middleweight champions Arthur Abraham and Sebastian Sylvester, former record setting (21 defenses) IBF super middleweight champion Sven Ottke, former IBF Inter-continental light welterweight champion Giuseppe Lauri, former IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, current IBF youth middleweight champion Adam Etches, current IBF cruiserweight champion Yoan Pablo Hernandez and current IBF mini flyweight champion Katsunari Takayama. The assembled champs each came up one at a time to greet the crowd, then gathered en masse for a group shot with IBF president Daryl peoples, championship chairman Lindsey Tucker and ratings chairman Anibal Miramontes.
In a sign of the ever changing boxing landscape, several members of the JBC (Japan Boxing Commission) were in attendance tonight. This marks the first time in many years that the JBC has attended an IBF convention and cemented another type of “reunification” which the two bodies decided should be done back in April of this year. JBC member Katsuhiko Nakamura presented Miramontes, Tucker and Peoples each with an artistic rendition of their likeness as a gift and a token of good will toward future relations together.
Tomorrow’s meetings include the opening general session, board of director’s reports, regional representatives reports, referees seminar, ratings meetings and board position election voting.
The evening will be capped by a boxing dinner event at the MOA Hotel presented by Ludus Pugilatus (Robert Rolle), with IBF attendees invited.