By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán – President of the WBC
Since its formation in 1963, the WBC has dedicated all available efforts to find avenues and tools to improve all aspects of boxing, and to make it a safer sport for all participants. The WBC has broken previously accepted boxing paradigms to make changes to improve the sport. In the process, the WBC has surmounted many challenges; all in the name of benefiting boxers before, during and after their glory days in the ring.
The WBC introduced the Franchise Boxer concept and Rule a couple of years ago. The Franchise Boxer is a special designation and privileged status which the WBC may bestow to a current WBC World Champion, who is also an elite boxer, and who has achieved and maintains the highest of stature in the sport. Under governing Rule 3.26, in its discretion, the WBC may, upon a 2/3rd vote of the Board of Governors, designate in each weight category one WBC Franchise Boxer. A Franchise Boxer enjoys special status with respect to his or her mandatory obligations, holding multiple titles and competing for titles of other organizations, as the WBC Board of Governors considers petitions from elite boxers to receive the Franchise Boxer designation on a case-by-case basis.
Initially, the WBC established that the Franchise Boxer privileges were conferred and not won or lost as a result of the outcome of a bout. As any rule of importance, the WBC has modified its Franchise Boxer Rule so that it reflects the realities of our ever-evolving sport. Just as the NFL, for example, continuously adjusts its parameters and introduces innovations, such as adding one game to the league’s schedule, the WBC continues to tweak its Franchise Boxer Rule to better fit the Rule’s purposes and goals.
A significant adjustment to the Rule came about when Teofimo Lopez, requested to become Franchise Boxer if he defeated Vasyl Lomachenko. Teofimo prevailed and the WBC conferred to him the well-deserved Franchise Boxer designation in WBC Lightweight Division.
In order to continue developing the WBC Franchise Boxer concept and Rule, the updated WBC Franchise Boxer Rule will read as follows:
3.26 Franchise Boxer. The Franchise Boxer is a special designation and privileged status which the WBC may bestow to a current WBC World Champion, who is also an elite boxer, and who has achieved and maintains the highest of statures in the sport. In its discretion, the WBC may, upon a 2/3rd vote of the Board of Governors, designate a WBC Franchise Boxer.
A Franchise Boxer shall enjoy a special, privileged status with respect to his or her mandatory obligations, holding multiple titles and competing for titles of other organizations regardless of the weight category at which the contest is held, as the WBC Board of Governors, in its sole discretion, rules on a case-by-case basis.
A Franchise Boxer shall enjoy the highest preferential position to challenge for the World Championship in his division at any given time upon his written request to the WBC, regardless of whether the current World Champion has any mandatory obligations.
The WBC Franchise Boxer designation can only be used in connection with the boxer to whom the WBC specifically bestows that designation.
The WBC will designate a Franchise Boxer as WBC Emeritus Champion once he officially retires from boxing.
While enjoying the designation, a WBC Franchise Boxer shall proudly represent the WBC in every single fight as a reigning WBC Champion, regardless of any specific conditions or titles being associated with any fights in which he participates.
The WBC Franchise Boxer’s boxing activity shall be governed by the WBC Rules & Regulations. The WBC shall approve the WBC Franchise Boxer’s opponents through the WBC Franchise Boxer’s promoter.
The WBC Franchise Boxer shall participate in a minimum of two social responsibility events every year, organized by, and in conjunction with, the WBC.
During the duration of a WBC Franchise Boxer’s status as such, the WBC may not recognize another WBC Franchise Boxer in the division or divisions where the WBC Franchise Boxer currently competes.
Per petition of an eligible boxer to, and approval by, the WBC Board of Governors by a 2/3rd vote, the WBC may award the designation of Franchise Boxer to the winner of a bout in which a then-current Franchise Boxer participates.
In the aftermath of the unbelievable, recent fight-of-the-year candidate between Juan Francisco Estrada and Roman Gonzalez, the boxing world immediately clamored for their rubber-match to take place. Having a Mandatory Challenger of the division, who had already stepped aside to allow the Estrada v. Gonzalez II bout, the WBC communicated with all parties involved and issued a ruling which satisfied all of them. The WBC’s Ruling comprised the creation of a WBC Super Fly Tournament by ordering the following:
– Designation of Estrada as Franchise Boxer and order Estrada v. Gonzalez III.
– SriSaket Sor Rungvisai to fight Carlos Cuadras for the WBC Super Flyweight World Championship.
– The winner of each bout to fight each other to determine the sole WBC king in the Super Flyweight division.
There have been 10 fights involving those 4 fighters; all of them of the highest quality.
The WBC’s ruling, as explained above, has secured at least three more exciting matches all of which will happen in 2021. While doing so, the WBC has created upcoming boxing activity of the highest level for the enjoyment of boxing fans around the world.
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