By Boxing Bob Newman
The 88th Annual World Boxing Association Convention got underway today at the luxurious Dann Carlton Hotel in beautiful Medellin, Colombia. Some 256 delegates from over 20 countries are in attendance. The opening commenced with introductions of the WBA Board of Directors by WBA Executive Vice President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza. Following the national anthem of the host country Colombia, a ten count was then given to several boxing luminaries who have passed in the last year- Promoter Luis Spada, past WBA president Dr. Elias Cordoba, legendary champions Alexis Arguello, Jose Torres, Ingemar Johansson, Raul Macias, Alfredo Marcano, Greg Page, and more recent fighters of note, female unified champion Jisselle Salandy and WBA Fedelatin champion Jose Arboleda.
An interesting folkloric act followed with locals dressed in the traditional dress of the region of Antioquia, Colombia and carrying “silletas” or flowered logos of the WBA, Colombian flags and regional WBA bodies into the ball room.
The mayor of Medellin was represented by Medellin Sports Director Andres Filipe Garcia who gave a warm welcome to the delegates, followed by the president of the Colombian Boxing Federation Julio Torres Roca. Roca finished with the call for the convention to bear “Peace for the country of Colombia” and then turned the microphone over to WBA president Dr. Gilberto Mendoza whom he described as having recently gone a very tough fifteen rounds against the insidious disease of Cancer, and winning.
President Mendoza greeted the gathered delegates with a strong, robust voice, defying the effects of his recent winning battle with throat Cancer. After thanking the city of Medellin, and praising several gathered champions for their exploits in the ring over the years, Mendoza presented a replica WBA belt to the office of the Mayor of Medellin. He then went on to outline the agenda for the convention.
The lineup for today’s session includes:
*A review of the minutes from the 87th WBA convention at Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
*Financial and Auditing report
*Opening dinner – “Peace: An Universal Right we Shall Support”