By Marco Bratusch
With 2018 recently kicked off, the European Boxing Union reached the considerable milestone of seventy years of history and currently the oldest sanctioning body established and still operating.
Officially born in late 1947 out of a rib of the former International Boxing Union (IBU), its story is full of all-time boxers who held the ‘blue belt’ during their careers, most of them at an embryonic stage of their careers before looking wider at world title challenges. That was the case for great middleweights Marcel Cerdan and Nino Benvenuti in the late-forties and sixties respectively, or John H. Stracey in the mid-seventies, just before stepping up and shocking the boxing world halting welterweights’ master José Napoles in Mexico City.
Italian Duilio Loi, arguably one the most overlooked lightweights and jr. welterweights of the sport by current boxing historians, defended his EBU belt during a four-year span from 1952 until 1956 before proving his legacy worldwide. Both the very next International Boxing Hall of Fame honored Vitali Klitschko and his younger sibling Wladimir held the European title as the latest heavyweight champions of the 20th Century, preparing their campaigns to the rest of the world, eventually reaching the greatest achievements.
Getting back to our days, 2017 resulted to be a fruitful year for the EBU, with competitive fights and minor upsets happening along the way. French 147-pounder Mohamed Mimoune won the belt in style outpointing former titlist Sam Eggington in his backyard; junior middleweights Cedric Vitu and Isaac Real started the year with a bang delivering a heated, two-sided affair; talented jr welterweight Anthony Yigit reaffirmed his championship status solidly and heavyweight king Agit Kabayel turned back the challenge of rough veteran Dereck Chisora at the end of a good scrap.
“We are satisfied with the amount of activity we have had in the last couple of years”, states long-time general secretary Ms. Enza Jacoponi, “We incurred in some kind of struggles at the beginning of the Economic Crisis in Western countries a few years ago, basically as every other organization, but now we are appreciating a considerable amount of offers and good quality fights again thanks to the European promoters who are always interested in putting their best fighters in position to compete for the European title. Seventy years of boxing it’s definitely a long story, and it has been a deep, interesting one. We are looking forward to keeping our title still at the top of the continental achievements for the years to come”.
President Bob Logist, a former high-profile referee and judge, is now in his eleventh year as head of the organization, expressing his thoughts on the EBU run: “Yes, I’m now in my eleventh year in charge and on next June 2 the General Assembly will confirm the President or elect a new one, along with the 10 countries members of the board. According to Alain Von Driessche’s boxing encyclopedia, in 1913 there already was the IBU. In 1948, at the end of World War II, eight European countries began to put on championship fights as a sanctioning body, and the IBU became the EBU. Today we have more than 38 countries which are sovereign members of the EBU, whose belt is still representing the gate for world titles challenges, a natural preparatory step. We have a great staff working in our office in Rome to drive this sometimes demanding control room. In order to maintain such status, we must do our best efforts to compile our best ratings, using knowledgeable ring officials and matching the best fighters so as to deliver fair and entertaining boxing events. To have the support and respect of the greatest European promoters and managers makes us proud of our working.”
Integrating the information concerning the next EBU General Assembly, it will be taking place on June 2 (with the preceding Council meeting on June 1 in the afternoon), at Falkensteiner Hotel in Beograd, Serbia.
Media members who require further details in order to attend the General Assembly may contact the EBU office at firstname.lastname@example.org