WBC President – Jose Sulaiman’s son
NO, NO, NO AND NO……
It is only natural to resist any type of change. We’re used to doing things one way and one way only. It’s almost impossible to break the paradigms in the daily life, in the common structure. It’s easy to remain passive and simply do what is the usual way. The WBC was founded 53 years and it has been its decision to change and adjust and that has led to so many of today’s boxing rules, procedures, protocols and practices. Such has been a long journey but today it’s clear and certain that boxing is much safer than before.
I am using in this column some of my favorite quotes about “change,” as it reflects the wisdom of some historic figures, which inspires us to continue to implement changes in the boxing world.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
― Mother Teresa
It has taken extensive medical research, countless hours of planning, pilot tests and relentless pursuit to have been able to make changes in boxing. To reduce championship fights from 15 to 12 rounds was monumental, not popular at all, still has some have strong criticism, but today we can see the results of the more than 30 years of 12 round fights. It took the work of many doctors to make this a reality: UCLA and Dr. Finerman, Dr. Honda, Dr. Martin and the work of the WBC Medical Committee and the Board of Governors. To change the official weigh-in from six hours before the fight to a day before the fight has been perhaps the rule that has saved the integrity of fighters in recent years.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
― Albert Einstein
I have been involved in several proposed changes to rules or new concepts to be implemented. NO, NO, NO …… That has been the first reaction of many. To say NO without even thinking about the concept, without even trying the proposal. Simply say NO because of being afraid of change. The WBC believes in adjusting to modern times, in using technology to make boxing a better sport and to make sure justice prevails. INSTANT REPLAY in boxing has been used by the WBC for eight years in many countries of the world and has proven to be a very effective tool to prevent controversies. Very unfortunately, some jurisdictions in the world do not accept the fact that this procedure is available for justice and do not accept the use of instant replay.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
― Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol
The NFL is a perfect example of continuous improvement through changes. Today, what used to be an easy extra point attempt, is a challenge. To have to kick a 30+ yard ball to score that valuable one point and it even invites teams to try for the two point conversion which makes the game more exiting. Yes, it took guts to change a rule that had been in existence since day one of the NFL.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
― R. Buckminster Fuller
Officiating is and will always be the most critical and controversial topic in boxing. The WBC led many changes in officiating, in the 1960s the champion used to travel to his fights bringing a judge and a scoring referee! In the UK there were no judges, the referee would determine the winner of the fight on his own. There have been several scoring systems, 20-point, 1-point, 5-point …… The 10-point must system was introduced by the WBC after the work of a world panel of officials and has been established ever since. It’s time to revise the system and it’s time to implement actions to have alternatives to maximize the probability of successful, accurate, uniform scoring.
The WBC has used the partial for and eight round open scoring, either announcing to the public or simply advising both corners the real official scores of the three judges. The resistance in some jurisdictions has been unbelievable. Again NO, NO, NO …… Such open scoring has had tremendous success in many countries and very few negative comments. Over 6,000 fights have used it around the world in nine years. This practice allows the corner and fighters to know exactly where they stand so they can adjust strategy during the fight. Boxing is the only sport in which the athletes compete in such uncertain conditions …. TV viewers see the broadcasters’ unofficial scores every single round which is a tremendous influence in the fans. Why not be able to see the official score after round four and round eight?
We’re trying to implement the use of noise canceling headphones on judges. This device maximizes the possibility of deep concentration and eliminates the direct or even subconscious influence of loud crowds or the promoter’s staff chanting next to the official, as happens in several countries. NO, NO, NO …… that’s the answer by some, not even willing to try it locally in four round fights.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
― Margaret Mead
We will continue working, we will implement more changes, we will try new things. Boxing needs action, immediate action to be a better sport a safer sport.
We will promote tournaments, fans like to see continuity to follow fighters moving up. We will implement and have as a priority the Clean Boxing Program to educate fighters on doping and its dangers. We will continue to find support to amateur boxing, which is dying in the hands of AIBA. We will spread the BOXVAL program “Boxing for Peace,” as all fighters are ambassadors of peace in their areas. We will continue to try to abolish mismatches with the “mismatch prevention system.” We will implement the monthly monitoring of weight and rounds sparred by each individual fighter by each gymnasium, and many, many other plans and projects which the WBC members work diligently with passion and pride.
NO, NO, NO …… YES, as my dear father Jose Sulaiman used to say: “Nothing is impossible. Some things simply take longer to accomplish.”
Thank you and I welcome any comments, suggestions or recommendations at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo courtesy WBC