World Boxing Association President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza came to the Global Boxing Forum in Ekaterinburg, Russia, with only one mission: To reach for a solution to the problems that boxing currently faces. The leader of the oldest boxing organization in the world debated with other prominent figures in world boxing such as WBO President Francisco Valcárcel, IBF President Darryl Peoples, Umar Kremlev and Stephan Fox.
The situation of the AIBA, amateur boxing and professional boxing were the principal topics of conversation. Mendoza made it clear that his intention was to collaborate on the situation and achieve a successful solution; In addition, the WBA President emphasized that this is about putting boxing first.
“The first thing is boxing, the second is boxing, and the third is boxing. Later we can talk about business,” stated Mendoza.
“There is a question about Olympic boxing and we all know that the AIBA is suspended. We’re here to look for a solution and demonstrate to them [the IOC] that we can work together. Finding common ground is no problem for us because we’re in this together,” he continued.
Many points were touched on in the boxing business, including a discussion about very high profile celebrity fighters like Floyd “Money” Mayweather, who successfully exploited the commercial side of the sport. The WBA leader gave his opinion on the Floyd case in front of all forum attendees.
“He was one of the best boxers and is a great example for his training. His lifestyle was different, not the best and may not have been a good thing for some, but it was motivating. Not everyone has the chance to do what he did,” he said.
After talking about Floyd, Mendoza spoke about the other end of the spectrum: Muhammad Ali. “Ali’s case is different. He showed the values of the sport. We have something different here. The most important thing is boxing, but we don’t have Ali and Floyd every day, so we have to support those who are in the spotlight now.”
Among the projects Mendoza proposed for the development of boxing was one he hopes to achieve with the help of all.
“We must create a sports center. This is the most important thing. Not everyone has a family. These children need a safe path without conflict. They haven’t had the opportunities others had and they have to fend for themselves,” he said.
One of Mendoza’s priorities has long been the creation of a WBA Academy for the training of technical staff, coaches and all related personnel needed for the systematic development of boxing.