By Boxing Bob Newman
Photos: Boxing Bob Newman
Day 3 of the 30th annual IBF convention in Berlin Germany opened in the Concorde Room in the same named hotel with a general assembly. The larger than ever gathering introduced themselves one-by-one. Thomas Pütz, president of the BDB (German Boxing Federation) addressed the delegation, followed by Eva Rolle, promoter and president of the Malta Boxing Council.
IBF president Daryl Peoples took the mic to deliver his opening remarks and outlined the planned speeches and presentations for the day. In part, here is what President Peoples had to say:
Welcome to Berlin and thank you for joining us for our 30th annual IBF convention. I hope you enjoy your stay and get to see some of the sites in this city.
The Board of Directors has been busy this year ensuring that we continue to follow policies and procedures to maintain our 501 c. 6 Non Profit status. I’m happy to report that for the first time in several years, the organization has shown financial growth. This is due, in part, to sound fiscal management and an increase in sanctioning fees.
Referee Robert Byrd and Jack Reiss will be conducting the referees seminar. Several international referees will be assisting in this year’s presentation. Glenn Feldman, Thomas Miller and Pawel Kardyni will be presenting the judging seminar. There will also be a presentation of the Pod Index, a diagnostic tool by IBF judge Matt Podgorski. The Pod Index will assess how consistently the judges score on a round-by-round basis.
Dr.’s Paul Wallace, Richard Weinstein and Anthony Curerri will conduct the medical seminar this year.
Some sad news to report for the IBF. Long time board member Ray Wheatley has decided to tender his resignation. Ray is responsible, by and large, for the presence of the IBF in the Pan Pacific region. He will be sorely missed. Also Dr. William Lathan, our Medical Director, has resigned in order to spend more time with his family and grandchildren. Fortunately, Dr. Lathan has decided to remain on as a member of the committee.
Treasurer David McCullough echoed President Peoples’ sentiment on the financial improvement of the IBF and their growth outlook.
Championship Committee Chair Lindsey Tucker reported on the improved growth of championship bouts throughout the boxing world. As mentioned previously, Japan has now rejoined the IBF and has it’s first IBF champion in 28 years, and only the second overall. The continued increase in Female IBF championship bouts has also contributed to the championship bout growth.
IBF Legal Counsel Linda Torres briefly reported on the IBF’s legal status.
Ratings Chair Anibal Miramontes briefly discussed the hard work put into assessing the fighters for ratings consideration. “With all the world champions, international champions and PLASTIC champions, it isn’t easy work to do,” quipped Miramontes.
Three board of directors positions are up for election this year. Two of the positions are held by incumbents Lou Priluker and Aaron Kizer. The third position was held by recently resigned Ray Wheatley. Priluker and Kizer stumped for their positions, while Ray Reed (Australia), Glenn Hamada (USA) also campaigned for a position on the board.
The afternoon session started with the referee seminar. Headed up by referees Robert Byrd and Jack Reiss, the session was very informative and interactive. Eddie Cotton, Mark Nelson, Marlon Wright, Randy Neumann, Deon Dwarte, Manfred Kuchler, Massimiliano Bianco, Pawel Kardyni and Micky Vann all presented their experiences as the third man in the ring. Chris Byrd answered questions from the collection of refs, ranging from referee preferences for a fight, to refs taking points away, and the benefit of multiple sanctioning bodies. Byrd admitted that he felt slighted by the alphabet organizations as a heavyweight with the exception of the IBF.
The referee seminar then moved from the oral phase to the participation phase as Robert Byrd conducted the in-the-ring portion of the exercise. Several referees were randomly chosen to handle mock situations in the ring with “fighters” who were given instructions to commit various fouls and other real-fight scenarios. The referees had to explain their view of what happened in the ring and the decisions they rendered to handle each situation.
Simultaneously, the ratings meeting was underway down the hall from the referee seminar. The course of events followed the normal procedure of fighter managers, promoters, and advisors all lobbying for their charges to either enter, maintain, or climb the rankings in their respective divisions. Things then got heated when the middleweight division was reached. With the recent debacle of a failed doping test by Sam Soliman after his final IBF eliminator against Felix Sturm, there is a bit of a quagmire as a resolution hasn’t been reached yet as to what action will be taken against Soliman, who won the fight. The Soliman upset victory was subsequently nullified by the BDB and was turned to a “No-decision,” leaving the #1 spot vacant. BDB president Thomas Pütz just entered the room as discussions on the division got underway. Ratings chairman Anibal Miramontes asked Pütz if a decision on Soliman’s appeal had been reached yet by the appeals committee. As Pütz answered that there wasn’t a decision just yet, promoter Ahmet Öner called out from his chair, “You know the result already, Thomas. You work for Sturm. You work for Sturm!” Pütz adamantly responded, “Bullshit! That is bullshit!” Miramontes had to restore order and asked the interested parties to keep the topic on the fighters and their rankings, and to refrain from slinging barbs at each other. The crux of the turmoil was to figure out if Soliman is out of the rankings due to a suspension, and if so, can other fighters in the proper position enter into an eliminator for the mandatory title opportunity. Miramontes offered that until the BDB’s final decision is rendered on Soliman’s appeal, the IBF’s hands are tied. Order was restored and the remaining weight classes were observed without incident.
The final segment of the afternoon session was the casting of the vote for the three IBF Board of Directors positions. Incumbent board members Lou Priluk and Aaron Kizer were re-elected to their posts and Glenn Hamada won the seat left vacant by Ray Wheatley’s resignation.