By Mauricio Sulaimán – WBC President – Son of José Sulaimán

  July 11, 2023   ROUND 12: PROTECTING THE BOXER By Mauricio Sulaimán – WBC President – Son of José Sulaimán   One of today’s great prospects was unable to fight this past weekend due to a medical situation that the Texas Boxing Commission rightly detected.   Vergil Ortiz Jr. received the order from the medical services to withdraw from the bout, in which he was going to fight Eimantas Stanionis, for the WBA title.     Boxing is a complicated sport. It is not a game and there are no teams. It is an individual sport that does not allow substitutions, and in history there have been many tragedies with boxers who entered the ring with medical issues, injuries from the gym, or from private life or illnesses which were not reported.   It is a reality that many of the ring accidents have happened due to injuries prior to the fights.   There are other cases in which boxers entered the ring with the knowledge that they would give their rival an advantage due to various circumstances. What would have happened if those fighters had decided not to enter the ring, postpone the fight, or even cancel it?   One of the most important fights in history, The Rumble in the Jungle, was postponed 30 days after George Foreman was cut in a sparring session. It is said that Foreman wanted to return to the U.S., and that the military in power at that time in Zaire simply did not give him the option of leaving the country. What would heavyweight history have been if Muhammad Ali had not regained his WBC world title in that historic event?     Carlos Zarate was the WBC bantamweight champion, undefeated with 50 victories, 49 of them by knockout, and sought history by facing the great WBC super bantamweight champion, his archrival from Puerto Rico, Wilfredo Gómez, who had accomplished all his wins by KO. The fight caught the undivided attention of the whole world. Zárate went into the fight hampered by a raging temperature of 104 degrees, and was allegedly sick for several days, and he was knocked out in four rounds. Would it have been different if Zarate hadn’t been ill or if the fight had been postponed?     Julio César Chávez lost his WBC super lightweight championship and his unbeaten record against Frankie Randall. Chávez fought with an injured left ankle and was only able to train for a short time. That happened many times during his career, but he had managed to remain undefeated for 14 years. There are also unproven stories when Oscar De La Hoya brutally defeated him. Later, it was speculated that J.C. had already had his left eyebrow gashed.   Many times we have heard boxers say, after losing, that they were in no condition to fight. It is very difficult to postpone or cancel a fight, especially when it comes to the main event with sold-out stadiums, TV, pay-per-view, sponsorships, other fights on the card, months of logistics, training camps and obviously, knowing that you will not receive payment for not fighting. Yet, there is nothing more valuable than the health and physical integrity of the fighter, and there should be no more important interest than the lives of the fighters.     Any boxer who is not in optimum condition should never go up to fight into the ring.   DID YOU KNOW…? The World Boxing Council is proud to have led the world with the implementation of many measures over the years to seek the maximum protection of fighters.   Some are: • Implementation of annual mandatory exams, before and after fights.   • Determination of some specific medicals required for boxing.   • Life insurance coverage and major medical expenses for all boxers who participate on a card where there is a WBC world title on the line.   • Reduction of fights from 15 to 12 rounds.   • Implementation of the official weigh-in, to be held one day before the fight.   • Execution of the weight monitoring program 30, 14, and seven days before the fight.   Many others …   It is painful to see people who stoop to criticize the boxer Vergil Ortiz Jr., the promoter, or the medical services in charge for not authorizing this fighter to fight.   Social media is a wonderful medium for multiplying plus extending the reach of news and communications, but it is also an easy way for people to indulge in insults and pour out their bitterness, bile, frustration, and misery on others, and they often do so in a cowardly, anonymously backstabbing manner.   I wish Vergil a speedy recovery and we offer to support him with a medical investigation protocol to understand the origin of his problem, and he will always have the doors open at the World Boxing Council.     Today’s anecdote London was one of my dad’s favorite cities.   Many important chapters in the history of the world of boxing and the WBC were written in this English city.   He had many friends over the years, and traveled to the U.K. many times.   As I have often commented, photography was his passion, and there is a photo in particular that always causes a special feeling for all of us at home.   The legendary clock called Big Ben, with the silhouette of the great historical figure, Winston Churchill.   “I was going towards the clock when the hunched figure of Churchill caught my attention, with him leaning on his walking stick signifying the passing of time, yet him remaining for all eternity as a historical giant.”     I appreciate your feedback at
Print Friendly, PDF & Email