Photos and story by Boxing Bob Newman
Opening day meetings of the WBA 91st Annual Convention commenced on Monday, October 19th at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, after arrivals of the directorate and many delegates over the weekend. President Gilberto Mendoza and Vice President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza opened the meetings with a review of the agenda for this convention and minutes from the 90th convention in Donetsk, Ukraine. The day closed with the opening ceremony and banquet in the Golden Ballroom of the Sultan.
Several committee appointments were made and tasks assigned. WBA treasurer was assigned to report on the WBA insurance program for boxers.
The WBA Medical Seminar magazine made its return after a several year absence.
Also, the WBA KO Drugs review magazine was distributed. The WBA KO Drugs program has been active since it’s inception in Maracay, Venezuela in 1988.
WBA legal counsel Robert Mack will issue a report on scoring margins.
George Martinez, NABA and WBA Women’s chairman, has drafted a full guide for the supervisors of WBA title fights.
On somber note, WBA Auditor Michael Welsh sent a message during the opening moments of the convention that he will resign, effective immediately from his duties with the WBA, citing heath problems. A motion was made and passed to recognize Welsh for his years of dedicated service.
WBA board member Julio Castillo instructed the directorate in Tai Chi exercises to loosen up their muscles and relax their minds after the enduring long trip to Jakarta and embarking on many hours of meetings.
After lunch, report summaries were given by committee heads. Dr. Calvin Inalsingh gave his annual medical report. It covered his attendance at the annual meeting of ringside physicians, as well as his participation at the annual KO Drugs event in Trinidad. Inalsingh would like to implement an exam which prospective ringside physicians would have to take and pass before being allowed to work a fight.
NABA chair George Martinez summarized his planned report on all the changes and happenings this past year in the North American Boxing Association. Martinez also chairs and will report on the WBA Female division activities.
Stanley Christodoulou summarized his upcoming African boxing report. Specifically the South African Boxing commission is undergoing a revamping and marketing overhaul. Also, other goals include a comprehensive working relationship across all African boxing bodies, improved training seminars across the continent and increased activity in female boxing. WBA Vice President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza seconded the importance of increased training of ring officials in the African region.
Aurelio Fiengo presented an overview of the Fedelatin title activity, rankings, and further development in the regional organization.
Alan Kim reviewed his upcoming report on PABA activities. Improved sponsor interest in Pan Asian Boxing Association fights and difficulties in dealing with sponsors was summarized.
Jesper Jensen summarized the European scene. There are ongoing talks involving the formation of WBA Europe as well as WBA Continental, pertaining to Europe. There remains a divide between EBU (European Boxing Union) and the potential WBA Europe or WBA Continental. Dave Rhoden chimed in with the suggestion of going with the WBA Continental direction as there are already WBO European and IBF European titles with “European” in the name. Jensen, Rhoden and Mendoza Jr. plan to sit down and have some strategic meetings this weeks regarding the European situation. The topic remains one of hot debate.
Alberto Sarmiento summarized the WBA’s financial report for the year. A complete rundown of WBA title fight activity, promoters and officials working in those title fights, payments made and received, as well as those NOT made and received will be discussed.
WBA legal counsel Robert Mack also summarized the association’s legal situation, which at this time has no pending actions. Some minor changes in language in some specific WBA rules and regulations will be discussed.
Gilberto Jesus Mendoza also discussed a recent meeting in New York with Sartonk belts who will take over manufacturing of the WBA’s belts, as well as bringing design uniformity within the WBA family of belts.
After the evening break, the Opening ceremonies commenced at 7 p.m. Several local dignitaries spoke, including Anthon Sihombing, chairman of the Indonesia Boxing Commission, along with WBA president Gilberto Mendoza and vice president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza, before diner was served and various local performance artists displayed cultural music and dance. Champions past and present were on hand, led by current WBA Featherweight super champion and Indonesian star Chris John. Also on hand were former champs Hiroki Ioka, David Griman and the Kameda brothers Koki and Daiki.