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WBC fifty fifth celebrations at the National Lottery


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James Blears

The odds against a small boxing organization formed in an even smaller Mexico City hotel, which was subsequently  crumpled by a massive earthquake, with its first President lasting just ten minutes, didn`t initially look like a safe bet!

However,  the World Boxing Council grew from these humble beginnings to become a giant, which today counts  on the loyalty and allegiance of one hundred and sixty six nations.

To celebrate its fifty fifth anniversary, the National Lottery has produced a special series edition, with some of Mexico`s greatest fist fighters attending to show that it`s just the ticket!

The only person still alive, who attended that historic initial meeting at the Prado Alffer Hotel on February 14th 1963 is the World Boxing Council`s Director of Communications and Official Historian Victor Cota.  Conservatively yet  elegantly attired, sharp witted and astute,  but perpetually kind and affable, El Professor  recalls:

"It was a cold but clear morning in the heart of Mexico City.  The World Boxing Council was established due to orders from then President of Mexico Adolfo lopez Mateos.  J Onslow Fane, who was a British Lord, was President for just ten minutes, resigning saying he couldn`t devote sufficient time to the job, and then Luis Spota of Mexico became WBC President.

"Initially the WBC was a very modest boxing organization with nothing particular recommendable or remarkable. It`s true greatness started in 1975 when Jose Sulaiman  become President,  transforming it and Boxing for the better, by creating humane rules through constant innovation. Today the World Boxing Council is the most prestigious of all, and the best of all times. We are now looking forward to the sixtieth anniversary!"

Accountant Roberto Saldana, who`s the National Lottery`s  Programming Director spoke of Mexico`s tremendous and proud sporting tradition, particularly Boxing, saying it`s such a pleasure to mark and commemorate this WBC historic landmark.  He said that December 5th, at the WBC Convention in Tunis, was the crucial turning point, when Jose Sulaiman was unanimously elected President and for the next thirty eight years, dedicated the rest of his extraordinary life, moulding it into  a great crucible of change and a pioneer of the Sport.


The Special Guest  representing the WBC, was Lucy Sulaiman, its Ambassador of Grace and Honor with that wonderful winning smile. Lucy thanked Roberto Saldana for his kind speech about the WBC, her beloved Father Don Jose and many of its greatest champions who had travelled far and wide to be here.  She said: "The World Boxing Council is proudly Mexican and it has done so many positive things to improve and make the Sport safer.  Thank you for this great priviledge."

Lucy then rang the bell to start the lottery numbers process.  A huge golden circular cage was turned again and again, over and over.  The noise of the countless chips inside was like the sound of a million conversing crickets on a hot still endless night, or a droning Congressional Debate.  The ensuing vacuum  once the process was completed, welled to a deafening crescendo of silence.

This was then punctuated by a file of young red coated National Lottery Assistants who administered the draw. A teenage girl read out the winning numbers in a sing song yet clarion fashion, which would have drowned out a fog horn.

Achievements not rhetoric have got the Green and Gold to where it is today, fifty five years after that chilly reception.  I`m reminded of the question put to the famous Editor of the Daily Telegraph William Deeds, who there and then chose an epitaph for himself.  He insisted: "Deeds...not words!"

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