By Boxing Bob Newman
WBC President Jose Sulaiman brought the organization’s 47th annual world convention to a premature close today in Jeju, Korea, one day early. Several members of the board of governors and ring officials have ring assignments and flights which necessitated early departures. President Sulaiman was fighting bronchitis upon his arrival to the island as well. Emotion also took over Sulaiman as he reflected upon the loss of so many members of the boxing fraternity this past year.
Sulaiman also reiterated his feelings on the state of amateur boxing and the WBC’s plans to integrate itself in the amateur version of the sport. He criticized the scoring system, and the politics involved, which he feels hurts the fighters themselves most of all.
This year’s convention hosted 597 delegates from twenty different countries. Over 100 ring officials, and nearly 40 promoters were among the attendees.
Between the $10,000 raised from sales of WBC key chains and T-shirts, and President Sulaiman’s personal donation of $5,000, a total of $15,000 was raised for the victims of the hurricane that ravaged The Philippines. OPBF Vice President Eric Buhain of the Philippines will distribute the funds to those in need.
Jill Diamond of World Boxing Cares forwarded the gratitude of the children visited by the benevolent arm of the WBC this week at Hongik Welfare Children’s Center, the orphanage in Jeju. “The look in those childrens’ eyes, the smiles and hugs we received is beyond explanation,” exclaimed Diamond. The organization works with little money, donations and time along with many champions of the ring who offer their time for free, visiting children in need throughout the world.
Safety Committee Chairman Luis Escalona issued his report on the compliance of boxing promoters in keeping with the WBC’s 30 day and seven day pre-fight weigh-ins.
Hubert Minn delivered his report on the judges workshop while Bruce McTavish did same for the referee’s workshop, both conducted this week.
Dr. Mario Sturla delivered his medical advisory report. President Sulaiman chimed in with calls to form medical committees in all countries where boxing ins being conducted. He also felt the need for a physician to be involved with the training of fighters right up to fight time, especially regarding weight loss and the proper methods that should be overseen. Lastly, Sulaiman called for a medical congress to be held every five years, compared to the two that have been held in the last ten years.
Ed Pearson of Canada reported that there were 46 WBC female title fights last year and the goal of the Female Championships Committee will be to surpass that number next year.
A title fight rules amendment was made requiring the hand wraps of both fighters to be given to the WBC supervisor in attendance.
A new WBC award called “The Green and Gold Fist” will be molded from former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s fist and forearm. Tyson has agreed with the plan.
The 2011 WBC convention, the organization’s 49th, will be held in the country of Turkey, either in Ankara or Istanbul.
The closing banquet was held just hours ago on Thursday evening here in Jeju. More awards and raffle prizes were given out. President Sulaiman expressed his gratitude to all involved in making this year’s convention a success and looked forward to seeing everyone in the WBC family next year in Mexico, which will coincide with the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. ¡Viva Mexico 2010!