Forty-five years have passed since José Sulaimán Chagnon became President of the World Boxing Council.
This monumental event took place on December 5, 1975 in Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, located in the north of the mighty African Continent, bathed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
Don Jose succeeded Professor Ramon Velázquez González. Up to that decisive and historic moment, he had served as WBC Executive Secretary.
Before the vote, he clarified that if he was not elected unanimously, he would not accept this position of supreme responsibility.
Not only did all the members vote for him, but it was resolved by a standing ovation. There and then began Jose Sulaiman Chagnon`s commitment encompassing the rest of his life, to better boxing by making it safer, by implementing improvements, as jagged corners of the sport had previously and edgily languished in the shadows of ring savagery. It was time for radical change, and Don Jose was determined to swiftly, efficiently and effectively bring it about.
In fact, Don Jose, had already worked long and hard before this moment, to change rules and regulations that were initially only supported by a very few. Hearts and minds needed to be changed.
Some of the most important delegates in Tunisia were the Belgian Albert Faccenda, Antonio Sciarra, from Italy, Ben Hamida (Tunisia), Bob Shields (USA), Bobby Naidoo (England), Hasine Hamouda (Tunisia), Ferdinand Leclerc (France) Glicerilo Matelli (Brazil), Ignacio Amador de la Peña (Colombia), Jim Deskin (USA), Joseph Fofe (Cameroon), Masao Suzuki (Japan), Piero Pini (Italy) Ramón G. Velázquez (Mexico), Ray Clarke (Great Britain ), Saburo Araschida (Japan), Taieb Houichi (Tunisia) and of course José Sulaiman himself. The notable absentees were J. Onslow Fane (England) and Luis Spota, from Mexico.
The new Leader of the WBC revealed much of what he wanted to set out, work on and achieve, in a far reaching and ambitious speech. In his following 39 years of leadership Don Jose walked his talked, fulfilled his promises and never gave up on his dreams for the future, in the sure knowledge that even more needed to be accomplished, in a process that has no conclusion or end.
José Sulaiman changed boxing for the better the world over, making it something different than it had previously been, giving it a direction, and purpose, making it what it is today. At the helm of the WBC, Don Jose was the Father of Modern Boxing, channeling passion, tempered by patience and perseverance, always insuring that rules and their fair intelligent application, have made it more humane, honest and safe, especially for those who get into the ring. What a legacy he has left us, which is being further developed by his youngest Son Mauricio Sulaiman Saldivar.