By Boxing Bob Newman
Heavyweight: The defense of champion Vitali Klitschko against Chris Arreola, then the #1 contender was considered Klitschko’s mandatory defense. A deadline of May 1, 2010 has been posed for a final eliminator between #1 Ray Austin and #2 Oleg Maskaev to determine the new mandatory challenger.
Cruiserweight: After a review in June at the NABF convention of the controversial title fight between champion Giacobbe Fragomeni and challenger Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, a rematch was ordered. Fragomeni will now defend against former WBO light heavy champ Zsolt Erdei, with the winner mandated to fight Wlodarczyk. That fight is an ordered rematch, and NOT a mandatory defense. Current #2 rated Herbie Hide would be in line for a mandatory challenge after that.
Light Heavyweight: Jean Pascal will fight a rematch with former champion Adrian Diaconu on December 11. Chad Dawson will fight Glenn Johnson in a rematch for the interim title this Saturday. Each winner will then be mandated to fight each other in a “unification” of the WBC title.
Super Middleweight: Both Gary Shaw and his fighter Andre Dirrell addressed the board of Governors per the recent fight between Dirrell and WBC champion Carl Froch. Dirrell explained his lifelong desire to fight for and win the WBC green belt. “I didn’t get that belt so I couldn’t put it around my grandfather’s waist. I’m not here to gain favor. I’m honored to be here and to fight for the WBC. This whole thing is beautiful, being here at the convention. I thank you Jose and your son Mauricio. I look forward to the opportunity of fighting for the WBC belt again.” Shaw went to bat for his fighter reflecting on the repeated fouls committed by Froch- throwing Dirrell to the ground, elbows, and more. “We look forward to the chance to fight a rematch with Carl Froch.”
WBC Board member Charles Giles rebutted that he watched the fight twice and still felt Froch won the fight. “Froch is still undefeated, a great fighter, and has never made any excuses for his performance in the ring. For his part, President Jose Sulaiman explained that a seven judge panel reached an agreement that a rematch would be favorable, but not to interrupt the Super Six tournament in doing so. “We have made a commitment to support the Super Six and want to stand by our word. We will make a communication to Showtime per the rules of the tournament, and go from there.”
Middleweight: Champion Kelly Pavlik made his mandatory defense on February 26th against Marco Antonio Rubio. Due to repeated injuries of Pavlik, Sebastian Zbik fought for and won the interim title against Domenico Spada on July 7, 2009. Pavlik’s situation will be discussed at a later date during the convention.
Super Welterweight: A ten count was sounded in the memory of champion Vernon Forrest. Ron Rizzo of DiBella Entertainment, explained that Champion Sergio Martinez accepted the fight with Paul Williams, after Williams’ fight with Kelly Pavlik fell through. However, Williams is not willing to come down to 154 lbs., so Martinez wants to go up to 160 lbs. in a nontitle fight. The WBC accepted this request, with a mandatory due by Martinez after the Williams fight.
Welterweight: Andre Berto took the microphone and reflected on being a WBC champion. “I am a very proud champion of the WBC. Sometimes I can’t sleep at night and I push my girl out of the bed and lay the belt next to me!” Ron Rizzo of DiBello Entertainment requested that Berto be allowed to defend his WBC title in the January 20, 2010 unification match against WBA champ “Sugar” Shane Mosley. President Sulaiman replied with an explanation of the machinations behind the fight between mandatory challenger Luis Collazo and Berto in Biloxi, Mississippi in January, 2009. In that instance, WBC officials were not allowed to officiate their own title fight. Next, conditions of allowing a unification with Mosley were offered: Mosley would need to apologize for throwing the interim WBC belt in the trash (figuratively) by opting for fight Antonio Margarito for the WBA title only. Another scenario with Collazo and Selcuk Aydin fighting for an interim title could happen. Golden Boy’s Eric Gomez commented that Mosley would be informed of the WBC’s request. Both conditions were approved by the board of governors.
Super Lightweight: An elimination was ordered between #2 Ajose Olusegun and #3 Ionut Dan Ion (Jo Jo Dan) for the mandatory challenger status. Terms of the fight have not been agreed upon by representatives or promoters of the fighters to date. A six man tournament was recommended by President Sulaiman to determine a mandatory challenger to champion Devon Alexander. With #1 rated Manny Pacquiao tied up with his fight against Miguel Cotto on November, the remaining #2 through #7 fighters could compete. They are: #2 Ionut Dan Ion, #3 Ajose Olusegun, #4 Ali Cheebah, #5 Cesar Cuenca, #6 Prawet Singwancha, #7 Jung Bum Kim.
Lightweight: Champion Edwin Valero will make a voluntary defense on December 19th against Hector Velasquez in Venezuela. Newly crowned interim champion Antonio DeMarco will face the winner. With Valero’s U.S. visa problems, where that bout takes place is a bone of contention. DeMarco’s promoter Gary Shaw adamantly exclaimed, “I can tell you I’m not taking DeMarco to Venezuela!”
Super Featherweight: Champion Humberto Soto will make his final defense on December 12 before moving on to lightweight. Interim champion Humberto Gutierrez will fight Vitali Tajbert on November 21 in Germany. That winner will be the full WBC champion after Soto’s abdication.
Featherweight: Champion Elio Rojas is in negotiations with #5 Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo for a voluntary defense at the moment. President Sulaiman opened the floor for comments on the idea of a tournament. Reactions were mixed from various promoters. The board of governors however did approve a tournament involving the top six available contenders. Sulaiman also vehemently opposed a rumored fourth match between Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez. “Those two will kill each other. They are such warriors, one or both will be finished after a fourth fight.
Super bantamweight: Mandatory was made by champion Toshiaki Nishioka against Jhonny Gonzalez in May and has a year before his next mandatory is due.
Bantamweight: Hozumi Hasegawa will make his tenth title defense on December 18th against Alvaro Perez. He may abdicate his throne to move to Super bantamweight afterward. A final eliminator between #1 Simpiwe Vetyeka and #2 Abner Mares was ordered, possibly or the vacant title if Hasegawa indeed moves up.
Super Flyweight: Unified champion Vic Darchinyan will defend against interim champion Tomas Rojas on December 12 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Flyweight: Daisuke Naito will defend against Koki Kameda on November 29, with the winner to fight interim champion Pongsaklek Wongjongkam.
Light Flyweight: Edgar Sosa will defend November 21 against multiple title challenger Rodel Mayol. If he does indeed vacate as is rumored, the top two available contenders will fight for the vacant title. Former Champion Omar Niño Romero is currently rated #1.
Strawweight: Champion Oleydong Sithsamercahi will fight interim champion Juan Palacios November 27 in Bangkok. The winer will have one year to make their next mandatory defense.
David Walker, WBC merchandising vice chairman for Europe and the U.K. presented a grand scheme for a planned Night of Champions in Wales, August, 2010. The idea comes on the heels of the very successful initiative of Noche de Campeones which took place in Cancun, Mexico in 2006, in which 80 past and present champions from around the world attended. The event was successful in helping foster a regrowth of tourism in the then hurricane ravaged city of Cancun. Walker then introduced two integral members of his project team, Neil McEvoy and Neil Jones. McEvoy-Deputy Leader Wales Common Council, gave a slide show presentation of the country of Wales, depicting it’s growth both as a nation and as a sports loving land. Jones- film maker of “Risen- The Howard Winstone Story,” aired a trailer of his film, which will make it’s planned world premiere at the Night of Champions event.
President Sulaiman then took suggestions for plans on funding a retirement of all boxers. Current stars Andre Berto and Andre Dirrell chimes in with their support of the idea, which included the suggestion of taking a $1 fee from each ticket sold at any boxing event and placing it into a fund for the boxers.
Convention sites were discussed for 2010 and 2011. At this time, the country of Mexico is definite for 2010, with Mexico City, Cancun and Puerta Vallarta all being considered as the host city. As for 2011, the countries of Turkey and Singapore made bids.
The scheduled Fiday evening OPBF Super Lightweight title fight between champion Jung Bum Kim and challenger Randy Suico, has been canceled due to sponsor difficulties.
Relief effort fund raising for Filipino victims of Hurricane Ketsana has gone well so far. Effort organizer Reynante “Rey” Danseco is present at this WBC convention and along with WBC Cares member and referee Stephen Blea, sold nearly every T-shirt available, several hundred in all. WBC president Jose Sulaiman personally ordered ten, as did Italian promoter Salvatore Cherchi and others soon followed suit.