Report/Photos: David Finger
Day two at the WBO’s 30th annual congress began bright and early at 8am on Tuesday, October 24th. The congress kicked off in the Stardust Theater onboard the Norwegian Sky cruise line and it began on a somber note. Three notable members of the WBO family passed away this year and WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel took time to speak about Luis A Perez, (who was chairman of the ratings committee), Rudy Paz (a beloved member from Arizona), and noted Boxing publicist Mario Rivera Martino. They then played a short video commentating the life of Luis Perez, who was one of President Valcarcel’s closest aides in the WBO.
The first order of business was the Treasurer’s report and the financial health of the WBO remained strong in 2017 as the WBO maintained a healthy $1.2 million in the bank after a revenue increase of $200,056.
New grievance committee chairman Fernando Gierbolini, an attorney from San Juan Puerto Rico, spoke briefly to the members in attendance and discussed his role with the grievance committee as well as the other members on the committee.
Richard De Cuir, Vice President of North America and Diana Melendez, the NABO and WBO Intercontinental executive director, both then presented their reports and discussed the health of their respective organizations within the WBO. Jorge Molina, Vice President of Latin America, then presented his report on the WBO Latino championship. Although WBO Latino had a somewhat off year, doing 20 title fights in 2017 (it’s lowest total since 2000 when the WBO Latino only sanctioned 19 title fights) Molina was confident that the trend would swing back up (in 2016 there were 27 sanctioned WBO Latino fights). He received a resounding endorsement from President Valcarcel who noted the WBO’s commitment to quality over quantity, and Molina’s adherence to that principle.
“The work you do is excellent and I congratulate you.” Valcarcel told Molina after his report.
From there Istvan “Koko” Kovacs presented his report on the state of WBO Europe. Since the last convention there had been 23 sanctioned WBO European title fights, bring in revenue of $80,500 USD. This brings the total number of WBO European title fights to 160 since the organization was founded, bringing in a total of $570,875.
From there WBO Vice President of Asia-Pacific and WBO Africa Leon Panoncillo gave his report on the continued growth in Asia and Africa. Since the last convention Panoncillo oversaw 24 Asia-Pacific championships (bringing in $53,152.44 in revenue for the WBO). This was the most number of Asia-Pacific championships since 2012 and an increase of 50% over last year. WBO Oriental saw 21 total championships with revenue of $39,256.95. And WBO Africa saw ten championship fights since the last convention with revenue of $16,665. Also, Panoncillo oversaw six total Asia-Pacific youth titles with revenue of $8,730. Panoncillo’s work ethic and continued dedication to the WBO Asia-Pacific region earned him the highest praise from President Valcarcel, who asked the members to give Panoncillo a standing ovation.
“I’m very proud of you and I k ow the committee is very proud of you.” Valcarcel said of Panoncillo, before noting how Panoncillo is often called upon to go into difficult situations and take difficult assignments for the WBO and he is almost always able to mollify these situations.
“Your like the Henry Kissinger of the WBO.” Valcarcel joked with Panoncillo.
Valcarcel then took time to commend Australian member Danny Leigh, noting the strength of the WBO In Australia and New Zealand before giving his President’s report. Valcarcel spoke about the impact of Hurricane Irma on Puerto Rico and discussed the WBO’s temporary move to Orlando as well as the still real possibility that she WBO may relocate to Miami shortly due to the current tax situation in Puerto Rico. He discussed the difficulty of everyday life in Puerto Rico, noting that the lack of power and electricity after the hurricane made operating very difficult for WBO members. He then spoke eloquently about the passing of Rudy Paz.
From there an attorney discussed the current status of WBO trademark litigation and registration before attorney Andrew Horn briefly discussed the status of the Austin Trout lawsuit against the WBO. Trout sued the WBO when he was removed from the rankings, and although Horn stressed that he couldn’t discuss the details of the case, he did feel confident that they were handling the matter appropriately.
“Trout sued us for being left out of the rankings.” Horn said. “That’s it. That’s all.”
Closing the days business was an introduction and discussion from Edgrado Lopez, a fresh faced 28-year old lawyer from SAN Jun who replaced the late Luis Perez. He briefly discussed the rules and standards of the ratings committee to close out the business for the day.