To speak of the history of the most important organization the World Boxing Council, it is necessary to go back in time, back to the origins of the sport that has brought glory to the people of Mexico: boxing.
Fighting with the fists as a competition and show is one of the oldest sports of all time. Such skills have been practiced since ancient times on almost every continent except America.
Although very few people know the facts, boxing was born in Africa and dates back to 6000 BC, in what is now known as Ethiopia; it first spread to the ancient Egyptian civilization and from there to Mesopotamia.
In the beginning, the Egyptian boxers used a type of glove that was worn up to the elbow, however, this custom was also found in Crete and ancient Greece, where references were made to boxing in Homer's Iliad.
By the year 688 B. C. boxing was included in the XXIII Olympic Games of ancient times by the name of pygmea or pygmachia, Greek for fistfight. Boxing was also practiced in the early days of ancient Rome, but was virtually eliminated as a business throughout Europe with the rise of Christianity. Contrary to what happened in Europe, boxing was widespread throughout Asia. It is estimated that in the early Christian era, Muay Boran or ancient boxing appeared in Southeast Asia.
China has attributed the appearance of this sport to Bodhidharma, an Indian monk and Buddhist patriarch who lived in the V century, in the shao lin chuan, who claimed that the practice of boxing is intimately connected to the control of qi or chi, an internal energy that is attributed to living beings:
"Without the Chi, there is no force. A boxer who screams and throws his punches fiercely has no real power in his fists. A true boxer is not really a show, but is one whose blows are as hard as a rock. This is because he possesses what is called the Chi."
In the eighteenth century, boxing became a widespread sport in Great Britain and its colonies, from whence it got to the American continent.
Boxer Jack Broughton introduced a technical and methodical approach to the practicing of this sport, optimizing punches and movements. In 1741, he defeated George Stevenson in a battle that lasted 35 minutes, unfortunately Stevenson died a few days later. Because of this, Broughton abandoned the sport, but later came back and created rules to prevent boxers from suffering irreversible damage.
Years later Jack Broughton came up with and began to spread in his amphitheater of Tottenham Court Road what would become the first rules of modern boxing, which became known by his name and eventually gave him the acknowledgement as the "father of English boxing."
The first seven rules:
- Retreat to your corner of the ring before a fallen opponent
- The count of half a minute after a fall and to be able to get back to the center of the ring and restart the fight or be considered "man out of action"
- Only the boxers and their seconds could climb into the ring
- The prohibition of private arrangements between boxers in terms of money
- The selection of referees to settle disputes between boxers
- The prohibition of hitting an opponent when s/he is down
- Locks can only be used above the waistline
Broughton's Rules were maintained with some modifications until 1838 when they were replaced by the London Prize Ring Rules.
During this time, boxing was introduced to the American continent and at the end of the nineteenth century boxing fever began to spread in non-whites countries, especially in those where there was British or American influence, such as Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Panama, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, South Africa and Spain.
In a relatively short time afterwards, Mexico established itself as one of the central places of boxing; the history of Mexican champions began to plant its roots in the sport with some of the finest boxing, as the then President of Mexico, Adolfo López Mateos, decided to create an organization to manage the unification of all world committees to control the spread of the sport called boxing; this is how on February 14, 1963 the World Boxing Council came into existence; initially it was founded by 11 countries: USA, Argentina, England, France, Mexico, Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil. Its main founders were Mexicans Luis Spota and Professor Ramon G. Velasquez, who were presidents of the World Boxing Council, as well as Onslow Fane, of England, and Justiniano Montano, of The Philippines.
So far there have been five people to hold the post of president of the WBC, but only one man has remained the absolute leader, by strengthening this organization as one of the most important internationally, Dr. Jose Sulaiman Chagnon, who became president of the organization on December 5, 1975 in Tunis. There Don José was unanimously elected as Chairman of the WBC during the Thirteenth Convention of the group, which took place at the Hotel Africa in Tunis.
At that time the WBC only had 21 affiliated countries, the organization currently has 164.
Ever since José Sulaiman took over the presidency, the WBC has evolved, risen up and transformed the way we look at this wonderful sport called boxing, for the organization, the most important thing is the safety, health and respect for the boxer who steps into the ring with a thirst to win, to please her/his public regardless of the risk s/he may face.
The first set of WBC rules that revolutionized Boxing:
- The reduction of the length of title fights from 15 to 12 rounds
- The official weigh-in required 24 hours before the fights
- The creation of divisions
- The four-rope ring
- The thumb-attached glove
- Doping tests after each fight sanctioned by the WBC
- Donations to UCLA for research
- Annual medical examinations for champions and classified boxers
- Life and hospitalization insurance for those fighters involved in title fights
- Retirement plans to support boxers in need throughout the world
- The struggle against apartheid in South African boxing, which earned our president an acknowledgement from the United Nations.
The WBC is an organization that is working and will continue to work tirelessly, with each of its members trying to position boxing as the number one sport, mostly to protect the fighter in all respects. The proof of this is that for 48 years, the World Boxing Council has organized its annual convention, featuring boxers, referees, promoters, judges and representatives of affiliated organizations from all over the world. In the last Convention, number 48, the following points were approved:
- The use of oxygen during fights. During the resting minute, the fighters will have access to oxygen.
- The use of a new certification of gloves as of 2012, to ensure they are within the parameters of safety for the boxers.
- The use of a written protocol for all that bandages must be, what is permitted as well as what is not permitted, so that it can be dealt with in the same way throughout the world.
- The referees have the authority to stop the fight when an opponent is in poor condition and does not have the slightest opportunity to emerge victorious.
We cannot fail to mention one of the most important aspects with its altruistic concept that is being carried out by this organization, which is the creation of WBC Cares, a charitable organization under the leadership of the World Boxing Council, aiming to bring a message of hope and inspiration through world-class athletes who visit youth centers, hospitals and orphanages.
What’s to come...?
- It is already confirmed that there will be a project to create a new form of world boxing championships to be known as "Premier" which will result in the unification of the titles of the four organizations that currently rule the sport.
- All fighters will receive a "passport" with their medical data allowing them to prevent sports accidents in their fights in the ring.
- The International Boxing passport, which will come into effect in mid 2011, will protect the boxers from accidents and so-called pirates of boxing.
- The creation of an amateur boxing tournament at regional and national levels and in the future at a global level, aiming to look for new boxing idols.
From the moment president Jose Sulaiman was elected, the WBC has sanctioned approximately 1.836 title fights on five continents, with the participation of the greatest boxers of all time, including: Muhammad Ali, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran, Julio Cesar Chavez, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Oscar De La Hoya, Ruben Olivares, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, to name a few.