By Mauricio Sulaiman
Son of Jose Sulaiman / President of the WBC
Boxing is global, it has no barriers, walls or borders. It is inclusive by nature, it shows diversity in realities, practices, customs and religions. There is no discrimination in boxing, a fighter from the United States is the same and has the exact same rights as one from Nigeria, Japan or Nicaragua.
One of the most important values for the World Boxing Council is and always will be to fight against racial discrimination. When discrimination occurs, it produces abuse of power that culminates in terrible acts of injustice.
Boxing is an honorable sport. In each fight it lifts marks of humanism and greatness. After every single fight, the two warriors culminate actions with an emotional embrace in the center of the ring, recognizing their mutual virtues and qualities. Then, they thank God for their health.
They all went through complicated processes to become a professional boxer and more to get to contest for a world title. They had to sacrifice, to be very disciplined and dedicated to becoming world champions. They represent their families, neighborhoods, states and countries.
We have as a high priority the constant training of ring officials. Just as the life of the boxers is in the hands of the referee, justice is in the hands of the judges. Whoever stands out in the actions must be the winner and there is no worse situation than a bad decision. That changes the outcome of the fight, irreparably affecting the career of a fighter.
Perhaps one of the greatest achievements of our WBC is fighting apartheid in South Africa, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela who struggled against racial discrimination and won. Muhammad Ali joined our veto imposed due to apartheid to that country and refused to fight there. And so many more boxers and promoters, in addition to other sports, joined us until this inhumane practice was abolished. The United States decreed the abolition of slavery on June 19, 1865. The state of Texas confirmed the national decree, ending this practice that was very popular in many states of the American Union, celebrated as “Juneteenth.”
The World Boxing Council will join this celebration of justice, equality and humaneness with a variety of activations throughout the month.
Another great moment related to this matter was achieved, after more than 30 years of struggle, the presidential pardon of Jack Johnson, the first African American world heavyweight champion, who was imprisoned for a racial crime. After more than a century, on May 24, 2018, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, granted his pardon to this important icon of boxing at the Oval Room of the White House.
Did you know…?
Jack Johnson, historic heavyweight champion, fought at a time when African Americans were not treated well in America. He was always against racial discrimination. He got married to white women different times.
He committed “misdemeanors,” according to that time’s discrimination practices, and was punished for that. Time went by and finally 3 years ago, the United States president, Donald Trump, granted him a pardon.
The belt of the World Boxing Council was placed at the presidential desk that morning, the single case this has happened in all boxing history.
My dad was a man full of love. He learned that from my grandmother, Wasila, who passed at the young age of 41.
“My mommy asked me to always do good every day. If at the end of the day, on my way home, I felt like I didn’t do something extraordinary for someone else, I had to stop to offer help to someone who needed it,” this is the kind of thing my dad told us while we grew up.
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