By Mauricio Sulaimán – President of the WBC – Son of José Sulaimán
This past November 1st we celebrated, in New York City , the centennial anniversary of the Jack Dempsey vs. Luis Ángel Firpo which took place
at the famous Polo Grounds, a stadium where the Yankees won 15 World Series, the Giants three American football championships, and more than 50 hall of fame boxers fought and had a nights of glory.
I had the great honor of meeting and spending time with Joseph Halperin, who is the grandson of one of the most important promoters in the history of our sport: Tex Rickard.
Rickard promoted all the big fights in the United States in the first quarter of the 1900’s often building stadiums just for the fight, such as Jack Johnson vs. Jeffries, or with Jack Dempsey in many occasions and many more until his untimely death, at age 56. He was the one who paved the way for subsequent generations of promoters to this day.
Bob Arum, who will turn 92 this December 8, just promoted last week one of the most important events ever seen: Fury vs. Ngannou, in the company of Frank Warren and the new great character in world boxing, His Excellency Turki Al-Sheikh, who has impressively started with the promotion of Battle of the Baddest, in Riyadh.
Don King, 92, this past weekend promoted in Miami the fight for the WBC cruiserweight world championship, between Ilunga Makabu and the now new world champion, Noel Mikaelian, who knocked out the former champion from Congo in three rounds.
Likewise, Cancún had the WBC World title fight, where O’Shaquie Foster dramatically knocked out Rocky Hernández in the final round. A superb promotion of Eddie Hearn, from England, and Pepe Gómez, from Cancún.
It has been a dream year for boxing, with spectacular fights around the Globe. Akihiko Honda, from Teiken, with sensation Naoya Inoue, who will close the year by unifying the titles with Marlon Tapales, on December 26, in Tokyo.
Three cards presented by PBC and Tom Brown with sold out arenas generating box offices of more than 20 million dollars each and resounding success in pay-per-view with Gervonta Davis knocking out Ryan García; Terence Crawford doing the same with Errol Spence; and Saúl Álvarez dominating, in a great boxing demonstration against Jermell Charlo. PBC and TGB had many other great events throughout the year.
In May, under the leadership of the governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, a great show was presented at the Chivas stadium. 50 thousand spectators packed the Akron to see the return of their king to Mexico. Canelo defeated brave John Ryder.
DAZN enjoyed promotions all over with Matcharoom, Golden Boy and a few other promoters.
Women’s boxing has already established itself as a great spectacle, with million-dollar purses for a few. This November 25, the long-awaited rematch will take place between the Irish Katie Taylor, and the person who already defeated her, namely Chantelle Cameron of England. The rematch will also be in Ireland.
At the time this article is published, I will be flying on my way to Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to celebrate our annual convention. We already have 600 registered delegates from around the world, plus local commissioners, which will surely make this a memorable meeting. Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Amir Khan, Kostya Tzsyu, Roberto Durán, Julio César Chávez, Érik Morales, Chiquita González, Daniel Zaragoza, and even our ambassadors Abdu Rozik and Bridger Walker will be present.
Adonis Stevenson will present Billy Dib with his Champion of Life championship belt; and Bridger will do the same with Dayana Sánchez, from Argentina, as the bravest woman on the planet.
We have an agenda full of topics of great importance. The BoxMed application developed by Conexión Fácil will be officially launched, which comes to revolutionize the physical care of fighters around the world. Initially it will serve to monitor the weight of each fighter, once a month; in addition to location for the clean boxing program, and many other ways to take care of the health of the fighters. The uniformity of criteria for judges will be another of the great tasks, as well as new dynamics for the referees.
The local Uzbekistan team has dedicated itself body and soul to welcoming the world of boxing, in what is the most important event of the year in our sport. Mr. Gafur Rahimov is a great leader, and he has put together a stellar team to make everything a success.
The Mexican boxing community is in total solidarity with Acapulco, and we have various activations underway to achieve the greatest possible support for those who need it so much, after the devastating passage of Hurricane Otis.
Acapulco was the headquarters of our convention last year, and many people are active to provide support of all kinds. Our silver champion, David Picasso, is an example of humanity, since together with his brother and his father they have already made three truck trips to distribute tons of food, water, milk and cleaning materials.
The Nuevo Jordan Gym, which has just reopened its doors, became a collection center and deliveries are being made to the Autofin facilities, where everything is taken. Today the Acapulco humanitarian fund is launched on the WBC platform, where various people will already be sending donations.
The Marsh home remained engraved in the hearts of the conventioneers, as the visit by WBC Cares was of great impact, and they will be accompanied during this difficult process. Acapulco will get back on its feet and the boxing world will get better at hand to help all it can.
Anyone wishing to donate to Acapulco victims may do so in the following link
Did you know…?
When Wilma destroyed Cancun, the first event was The Night of Champions, in January 2006, and the World Boxing Council is already planning The Night of Champions, for Acapulco.
It was in 1984, when a Pemex explosion destroyed the town of San Juanico, in the State of Mexico. My dad called Don King, who immediately agreed to put up a blockbuster card to raise money for that cause. This is how on January 1, 1985, the Palacio de los Deportes stadium was filled for a card where Julio César Chávez, Macho Camacho, Germán Torres, and many other warriors of the ring fought. At the end of the performance, Don José called my mother: “ My gargling, everything went very well, huge success, I’m so happy and we are on our way home.” “We are on our way? Who? José, it is January 1st and everything is closed.” “It’s all of us, the same ones from last night’s dinner, there are 60 of us.” Mom, with the help of my brothers, managed to get from friends houses soda, chicken, and salads, and we had a great celebration at home, as if everything had been prepared.
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