By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán – President of the WBC
Yesterday the World Boxing Council celebrated its 58th anniversary since its foundation back in 1963. By coincidence, it was founded on St. Valentine’s day, but without a doubt that has been the concept that has defined our WBC … friendship and unity.
The world is going through an unimaginable situation, a pandemic that has changed our way of life and that has left us with great uncertainty wondering about what the future of humanity holds.
Well, talking about the significance of this anniversary, I began to review data on what life was like when the WBC was born, and thus be able to compare it with what we are living now. I invite you to go into the time tunnel, and let’s briefly return to 1963.
The most famous group in history was formed, The Beatles, who arrived on the world scene and Beatlemania was born! One of their introductory hits was: “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” The most famous television shows were “Lassie” and “The Flintstones,” and in England the “Dr. Who” TV series began.
The most important films of the year were: “Cleopatra”, “Lawrence of Arabia” and the thriller film from Hitchcock, “The Birds.” In Japan, it was very common for people to carry around the new portable televisions, which were a novelty that enthused and enthralled millions in the land of the rising sun.
Some economic data from that year is that the average annual income in the United States was $5,800, and the average value of a house was $12,650 dollars, while a loaf of bread cost 22 cents.
American Express began its card operations in England, and the first Lottery system was born in the United States. The fashion was to see long boots and long, high hairdos on women.
Pope John XXIII died, with Pope Paul VI succeeding him. Kenya achieved its independence from the British Empire, the legendary Alcatraz Jail known as “The Rock” is finally closed, and the Polio vaccine peaked in the USA and UK when it was administered in a massive way, taken with a spoonful of sugar.
Jacques Yves Cousteau continued his sea expeditions in the Calypso, and the USSR put a woman in space for the first time by sending Valentina Tereshkova on a galactic mission.
But just as we now suffer with anguish due to our uncertain future due to Covid-19, in 1963 there were a series of serious events that put the world on to red alert.
The Vietnam War was raging, with large numbers of innocents losing their lives and the social consequences of such a war are still having effects in various countries. An image that went around the world was when the Buddhist Monk Thich Quang Duc killed himself by setting himself on fire as a sign of opposition to the war.
The Ku Klux Klan – “KKK” – was in force and active in one of the most serious racist demonstrations in the history of mankind. The United States was suffering the ravages of racial discrimination. There were huge street demonstrations, raids, and a lot of anger in the struggle for civil rights. It was in this year that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
The world was hit by earthquakes destroying cities in Libya and Yugoslavia; Hurricanes devastated Haiti and the island of Saipan in Oceania, while Mount Agung volcano erupted severely damaging Bali in Indonesia.
Tragically, the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was brutally assassinated, putting that country on high alert after suffering an unimaginable act. The consequences of this heinous act reverberated around the entire World.
This is how things were in the world 58 years ago, how very similar to what is lived today. There is good and there is bad. What is certain is that we will get make it out of this situation, we will continue and carry on and live happily and with opportunities. In time, we will look back to remember what we lived through in 2020 and 2021. Future generations will study what happened in this era, as well as what we studied with global happenings.
The World Boxing Council was born and its mission, from day one, was to revolutionize, change and better the sport. To make it more humane and safer for boxers. In 1963, 43 boxers died from injuries in the ring in the world and so many of those who retired ended up with their faculties severely weakened, having to live for the rest of their lives with a large number of serious health complications.
Today boxing is so very different. The fights are no longer 15 rounds but 12; weigh-ins are not 6 hours before the fight, they are a day before; Gloves are no longer 4 or 6 ounces, they are 8 or 10; today there is women’s boxing. Before, there was no type of medical examination for the boxer. Here and now, there are mandatory annual exams to pass in obtaining a license, strict exams before fights, and after them as well.
Today, there are very complete anti-doping programs and boxing is no longer in the top ten list of sports with the highest mortality. We are at number 14.
Did you know …
This is the list of WBC champions from 1963:
Division / Name / Country
Heavyweight Sonny Liston, USA
Light Heavyweight Harold Johnson, USA
Middleweight Dick Tiger, Nigeria
Super Welterweight Denny Moyer, USA
Welterweight Luis M. Rodriguez, Cuba
Super Lightweight Rudemio Cruz, Philippines
Lightweight Carlos Ortiz, Puerto Rico
Super Featherweight Flash Elorde, Philippines
Featherweight Davey Moore, USA
Bantamweight Eder Jofre, Brazil
Flyweight Pone Kingpetch, Thailand
My dad grew up in a romantic era in a beautiful province of our beloved Mexico, with walks through the park in Ciudad Victoria in the afternoons, weekend dances, and bohemianism.
He was very respectful and did not tolerate someone committing disrespectful acts in the presence of ladies. One February 14th, when he started dating my mother, they went to the cinema, precisely to see a movie of Raton Macías.
Leaving the cinema, holding hands, a guy, accompanied by some other friends, dared to compliment my mom … they kept walking, they went down the stairs and my dad, calmly, said: “Martha, wait for me here, I’ll come back in a moment.” Then he walked back to the gang and faced the guy and taught him a lesson in civics and how to appropriately behave in the presence of a lady.
My dad was the kindest and friendliest man in the world. He never sought a confrontation or fight, he always sought friendship and unity, and he was the protector of the less privileged, but if someone committed an injustice or abuse of any kind, there was no way to stop him until he remedied that situation.
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