By Mauricio Sulaiman / Son of Jose Sulaiman / President of the WBC
This past Friday, my family witnessed an act that has filled us with pride and motivation. My sister Lucy celebrated her third anniversary of overcoming the terrible disease of alcoholism and gave her testimony in front of her AA group.
It was a unique experience, as her courage and strength were highlighted in this face-to-face and virtual session. Some members of the family were there in both modalities to accompany our beloved Lucy in this important day.
The testimony that several of her team members gave about how they managed to make a great change due to her lovely help was amazing. My sister Lucy showed greatness during her speech; Only compliments and messages of thanks, for her constant dedication plus unconditional support from everyone in the group.
Alcoholism, drugs, gambling and any other types of addiction do not spare anyone; It ruthlessly attacks without considering age, gender, economic position or religion. Absolutely anyone can fall into the nets of these terrible threats, which stalk whoever may have moments of weakness.
The most important thing is to understand that there is a problem and act. There are many ways to find help and it’s never too late to do so. Love and faith are there to help you out. Support groups, clinics, the love of family and friends, come to find in oneself the strength and self-esteem that will defeat the enemy.
To Lucy: We are all so very proud of you; keep going, we need your unique way of being and the way you make this world better for all of us.
Continuing with the review of my trip, after Dubai I arrived to Albania to officially welcome the Albanian Boxing Union to the World Boxing Council. A country that just 30 years ago, had a communist regime and only amateur boxing.
The Italian Boxing Federation (FPI, for its acronym in English) was present, as they have given great support to this nation, to form the group: Albanian Boxing Union. My dear brother Salvatore Cherchi, Dr. Mario Sturla and Alberto Tapa represented the FPI.
The first meeting with the Albanian Boxing Union was wonderful. Its president Ilir Bregasi brought together a good group of people to form the boxing commission and sanction events properly. Its Vice President is the boxer Orial Kolaj, who won the European title three times, but always had to do so as a representative of Italy. One of the top priorities is to give Albania a place as an affiliated country, and for the fighters to finally step into the ring with their flag.
The WBC will continue, with an ongoing training plan through our committees, and through WBC University, to train and certify judges, referees, doctors, supervisors, inspectors and trainers.
The meeting with the National Secretary of Education, Sport and Youth, Ms. Evis Kushi, was of great importance, since it reaffirmed the commitment of the government of that country to be able to advance in this sport as well as in all the social responsibility programs that the WBC has to share with the world and thus support the various campaigns that change the lives of young people.
We also had an audience with Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, the country’s capital, which has sport and youth development as a priority. We closed the day with a massive press conference, in which the affiliation of Albania to the WBC was made official, and which was attended by six neighboring countries to witness the event and join the initiative to develop the area.
The next day, we met with the President of the Albanian Olympic Committee, Fidel Ylli, and they spoke openly about the problems that amateur boxing has suffered in recent decades and the plan to be able to join forces for the development of the sport throughout the world.
I loved visiting a gym. For anyone who has never been to a boxing gym, will not understand what I say next. This place really smelled like a boxing gym. The aroma of work effort and ambition. Young people, girls and boys and some mature boxers giving everything to the sport. It was precisely there that this dream of the Boxing Union came up.
Ilir Bregasi, who is a successful businessman, began training boxing 4 years ago in that same gym and from there, he understood the great need to do something for the sport, and today he proudly directs the WBC-affiliated organization.
Albania is a wonderful country, small, but developing. We will input all our effort, so that the first world champion of that country will be crowned.
The last part of my trip was to Istanbul, Turkey, where I met promoter Ahmet Oener who, along with his friends, received me with great hospitality. There, I had a very important meeting with the President of the Turkish Boxing Federation, Eyup Gözgec, in order to achieve important agreements between amateur and professional boxing.
I couldn’t stop mentioning that the food was spectacular throughout the trip, but here in particular was where I enjoyed the famous Kabobs of various meats and spices that made me remember the Arab cuisine that I like so much.
DID YOU KNOW…?
Albania has given us four world champions, who sadly had to represent other countries: Dejan Zlaticanin, Luan Krasniqi, Susie Ramadan and the reigning champion, Fabiana Bytyqi.
My dad was a hard-working man throughout his life. He arrived in Mexico City when fate mistakenly brought a letter to his brother’s desk. My uncle Héctor, better known as Tío Toy, was in the Mancera Ernst & Young office, and thus was able to recommend my father for the position that a US company was looking for.
Thus Don José was recruited as General Director of Graphic Controls, to open the factory in Mexico. At the very same time, he was also President of the Lindavista baseball league and President of the WBC, in addition to continuing his studies and photography courses by correspondence.
When he wasn’t away, he was always very busy, usually coming home late with noticeable weariness, but when the door was opened something always happened. My sister Lucy ran out to greet him with open arms and saying to him: “My doll, my doll, my beautiful father.” In this way, Don José forgot his tiredness and gave all the time necessary to be with my mother and us six children of the Sulaiman Saldivar family.
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