The general assembly meeting on Tuesday morning at the World Boxing Council's 42nd annual world convention was devoted to the election of WBC officers.
The nomination for WBC President was made by Dr. Peter Ngatane of South Africa, Vice President of the African Boxing Union. He said, "Thank you, President Sulaiman, for the opening statement. We've been through a lot of times together, and we see this convention as a new beginning. If I remember well, you were first elected as president in Africa for a new beginning for the WBC. And Africa being the cradle of humanity, I think and believe that it is also appropriate that Africa nominate you for the presidency of this new beginning. I would like to ask you to take this new beginning as the president of the WBC, because the WBC is a brand, and attached to the brand is Sulaiman. I think that this is a critical time for you not to step down. It would give the wrong message to the public. So, I recommend to the house to nominate you, hopefully without opposition, for president."
Edward Thangarajah of Thailand, Secretary of the Asian Boxing Council, said, "On behalf of the Asian Boxing Council, and my good friends gathered here, I propose Dr. Jose Sulaiman to be elected president of the World Boxing Council for all that he has done and achieved for the great sport of boxing. No leader, no politician has done so much, achieved so much for the dear sport which we love so much. He has created a new world for the sport of boxing."
Ruben Martinez of Spain, President of the European Boxing Union, said through an interpreter, "There is no other candidate. The Board of Governors should stand up together and elect Jose Sulaiman president of the WBC."
The Board of Governors unanimously stood, and reelected President Sulaiman to another four-year term by acclamation.
Several members of the Board spoke after his election. International Championships Chairman Mauro Betti of Italy said, "My life is in sports. I work for the Olympic committee in Italy. I do this every day. There is no big institution without a big leader. I want to tell you this. We are for you not because there is not another candidate. We are for you because there will be no WBC without Don Jose Sulaiman. We are the young people and probably we are the future, but we need a leader. We need you."
WBC Secretary General Gabriel Penagaricano of Puerto Rico said, "They're very true words that everyone has spoken. But I'll say this. During the last year, I've been traveling to Mexico often and we've been working hard at that little home office of Don Pepe in his house. In one of those trips last May, after an entire day of working more than 10 hours, solving issues and controversies, fights, at seven P.M. he tells me that we have to stop working and that we have to go to this dinner. We were working on a very important case and I told him, 'Well, we have to finish this. I'm leaving tomorrow and it has to be done.' He said, 'This is of utmost importance and we have to go right now.' And we left for the restaurant and we got there, and there was this little girl there. I thought there would be some government personnel, some big promoter or some very important person, and the dinner was with this little girl. We had a very wonderful dinner with her and on our way back, I asked who she was. He told me, 'The girl is the daughter of a very important Mexican champion who is deceased. The champion, before he died, asked me to take care of her.' I tell this story because that's what's done. We all know how important this man is for boxing, but it is those small details, more important than extremely pressing matters, to go and have the time to share with this little girl. To me, that's the reason why this person should be presiding over the WBC."
WBC International Secretary Rex Walker of the United States said, "Jose, you are the most recognized man in boxing in the entire world. Several times when I come through immigration, for example, in Mexico, they say, 'What are you doing?' I say, 'I'm going to a boxing match.' They say, 'Do you know Jose Sulaiman?' You're better known than the president of Mexico in many places. But most of all, I want to thank you for being a friend to me and friend to boxing. You are a true friend and I appreciate it, and I'm thilled that you are going to be WBC President for four more years."
President Sulaiman said, "I am really touched by the depth of the thoughts that my friends have expressed. I will devote one-hundred percent of my time to do the best that I can do. I am a fighter and a warrior, and I will continue being so. I cannot change.
"I want to express my deepest appreciation, my love to every member of this Board of Governors and to every person who came to this convention, because this is the Convention of Loyalty. Loyalty not to the WBC or to Jose Sulaiman, but loyalty to boxing, and loyalty to each of you, between yourselves. I will remember that for the rest of my life.
"That is what will be the basis and the foundation of the new beginning, loyalty and friendship. We will build our image and our institution with good work. This way, we can find new ways to take boxing ahead. I promise you that we will do our very best to work the following years for the benefit of the promotion of boxing."
Juan Sanchez of the United States was reelected WBC Treasurer. Gabriel Penagaricano of Puerto Rico was reelected WBC General Secretary. European Boxing Union President Ruben Martinez of Spain was reelected WBC Executive Vice President.
Hector Garcia of Puerto Rico, Robert Lee of the United States, Edmund Lipinski of Russia, and Jong Tae Park of Korea were reelected WBC Vice Presidents. African Boxing Union President Houcine Houichi of Tunisia, and Asian Boxing Council President Kovid Bhakdibhumi of Thailand were also elected WBC Vice Presidents.
Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation President Frank Quill of Australia, Rex Walker of the United States, Franco Falcinelli of Italy, and Humbert Furgoni of France were reelected WBC International Secretaries. Roberto Rea of Italy was elected WBC General Couselor at Large.
Promoters and their associates in attendance at the convention include Rosendo Alvarez and Ana Francis Donaire Alvarez, Boxing Stars, Nicaragua; Bob Arum and Todd DuBoef, Top Rank, U.S.A.; Fernando Beltran, Zanfer Promotions, Mexico; Salvatore Cherchi, O.P.I. 2000, Italy; Joe DeGuardia, Star Boxing, U.S.A; Stephen Deller and William Takataka, D-Rush Promotions, Australia; Jeff Fenech and Angelo Hyder, Jeff Fenech Promotions, Australia; Shelly Finkel, U.S.A.; Phillippe Fondu and Mariana Borissova, England; Bobby Goodman, Don King Productions, U.S.A; Dan Goossen, Goossen Tutor Promotions, U.S.A; Akihiko Honda, Ikushima Nobuhiko, and Irie Akemi, Teiken Promotions, Japan; Nacho Huizar and Humberto Soto, Mexico; Raul Jaimes, Golden Boy Promotions, U.S.A; Klaus-Peter Kohl, Universum Box-Promotion, Germany; Joe Koizumi, Japan; Lee Kusung, Poong San Promotions, Korea; Sampson Lewkowicz, U.S.A.; Gang Liu, China; Don Majeski, U.S.A.; Mike Marchionte, DiBella Entertainment, U.S.A; Toshiro Matauo, Japan; Chris Meyer and Ahmet Oner, Sauerland Event, Germany; Branco Milenkovic, South Africa; Carl Moretti, Main Events, U.S.A; Dong An Park, Korea; Ricardo Rizzo, Warriors Boxing Promotions, U.S.A; Rex Wakee Salud, Philippines; Ricardo Sanchez-Atocha, Rimer Box, Spain; Gary Shaw, Gary Shaw Productions, U.S.A; Masao Suzuki, Japan.
Bob Arum spoke to the general assembly on Monday morning, and said, "Delegates, friends, I thank you for this opportunity to address the convention. Of course, you all may know, and some of you may not, the WBC this year almost ceased to exist. But through the courage, perseverance, and determination of one man who fought constantly, this organization was saved and continues today. So, I would like everybody to rise to give a standing ovation to the president of the World Boxing Council, Jose Sulaiman.
"And it was not only because of past accomplishments that it was so important for the WBC to continue, it's because of the role that the WBC, as the only true international organization in the sport of boxing, will play and must play in the years to come.
"I just want to digress, just briefly. I've been in this business since the mid-1960s and when I first started, there were no satellites. When Muhammad Ali fought a championship fight, a tape was made in a studio in New York and rushed to a plane to be shown the next day in the United Kingdom. And, God forbid, if the tape missed the plane, the rights fee was cut by fifty-percent.
"And then we had satellites that proliferated all over the world so boxing matches could be shown, taking place in Las Vegas, shown in Japan and Thailand, in England, in Europe. And domestic satellites, which made it possible to have pay-per-view in the United States and other countries, so fighters, like Mr. Sulaiman has said, could make 25 or 30 million dollars in one fight.
"But you know something? All that technology that has driven the sport is going to be obsolete. We are now entering a new age where communications will be over the internet, where people will be able to purchase a fight on pay-per-view on their computers, which will be their television sets, so that the audience will be hundreds and hundreds of millions of people, so that the riches that will come to this sport will be enormous.
"And as the only true international organization, it must be the WBC that finds a way to harness what will happen in the future. Not next year. Five years, 10 years. But the WBC can play a role, a major role like FIFA plays in football, to channel the events, so that one event is not on top of the other, so that events can be presented in an orderly manner for the benefit of all.
"And that is the future of the World Boxing Council. And that's why, when history is written, we will praise Jose Sulaiman for having saved this organization so that the WBC can play the role that it's destined to play in the future. President Sulaiman has set forth an agenda that will be considered at this meeting and should, but perhaps for the next meeting, a committee should be set up now, so that the WBC is not playing catch-up, but the WBC is on top of the technology, so it can play the role that I believe it's destined to play.
"So, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to address you. God bless you all, and I know the WBC, for all its accomplishments in the past, the accomplishments in the future will dwarf anything that has happened before. Thank you."