After reigning supreme over the World Boxing Council for over thirty-eight years, Jose Sulaiman passed away earlier this year from complications after open-heart surgery late last year. Earlier this week his son, executive secretary Mauricio Sulaiman was elected unanimously by twenty-six representatives of the WBC. Many in the boxing world, from fans, media, fighters and the rest are suspicious that the council, which has been in play since its inception in 1963, will see any true changes with Mauricio at the helm.
With fifty-one years of the WBC’s existence, Mauricio, a married father of two daughters and a business major, is only its sixth president in its history. Coincidentally, Mauricio is forty-four years old, the same age his father was when he took over the reins of the organization.Like it was mentioned before, his father Jose controlled the council from 1976 to about last September when he was submitted to Los Angeles Cedar Sinai hospital to undergo the procedure. The senior Sulaiman was always critiqued for being Pro-Mexican fighter and advocating, or much more accurately, bending the rules to make favorite fighters, promoters or managers happy with their position in the Council rankings or as champions.
Jose was credited with the reduction of championship fights from fifteen to twelve rounds, weigh-ins to be held the day before the fight, the thumb of the glove attached to the rest of it to reduce eye gouging and standardizing four ropes per each side of the ring. The late Sulaiman also helped fighters outside the ring with pensions, paying medical bills and the charity wing of the organization, WBC Cares.
Can the same be expected from Mauricio?
From many anecdotes and reports referencing Jose Sulaiman, the gentleman was a charismatic, larger than life figure whose presence was felt as soon as he walked into any room. Taking the Council from an 11-country ratified sanctioning body to one that is now recognized in 162 countries, Sulaiman was one of the most influential personas in the history of boxing.
Mauricio Sulaiman has held the post of executive secretary since 2004 and has never alluded at wanting to succeed his father as president hoping that his father would live forever. According to the by-laws of the WBC, Mauricio will hold the post until the yearly convention in 2016 where elections will be held to choose a new president or re-elect the present one like his father was so many times.
During the ceremony where he was officially announced as the new president, Mauricio Sulaiman made it clear that his priorities during his first term, since like his father he is expected to be in control for many years to come, are promoting unity in boxing and the health of fighters. He mentioned those two points were two his father made him promise to focus on while on his death bed. He hinted that the cold war which boxing is currently in the middle of between promoters and networks is hurting boxing and no doubt the WBC’s bottom line.
I am sure he is as interested in that as much as his father was.