Report/Photos by Boxing Bob Newman
The 35th annual WBO convention officially got down to business with the general assembly meetings inside the Royal Sonesta Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico Tuesday morning. After the customary introductions of every delegate in attendance, WBO president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel introduced Ray Quiñones of the Puerto Rican Government Sports Authority, representing the governor of Puerto Rico, who welcomed the Convention to San Juan.
The election process was then undertaken. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will only be a two year appointment as the next cycle will occur in 2024. Due to several dozen member countries not being on hand, a list of proxies were read aloud to determine who would be casting ballots for whom.
The results of the election were as follows:
John Duggan- 1st Vice President
Erno Labega- 2nd VP
Genaro Rodriguez- 3rd VP
Rolando Marcos- 4th VP
Adolfo Flores- Treasurer
Michael Pernick- International Commissioner
Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel- President
British heavyweight Joe Joyce dropped in on the assembly and picked his newest piece of hardware- the WBO Interim belt, won via a hard fought eleventh round KO over former WBO champ Joseph Parker back on September 24th at Manchester, England.
Referee Russell Mora was appointed WBO Executive of Ring Officials to a resounding round of applause. Earlier in the day, Mora made his decision to retire from active refereeing official. More explained to Fightnews.com, “I knew the timing was right when I refereed the third Fury-Wilder fight. It was a massive fight and it was my best fight as a ref. I wanted to go out on top. It was God’s will and part of his plan.”
A video was shown of the WBO’s efforts in the Puerto Rican community to help in any possible with recovery efforts after Hurricane Fiona. Many champions including Amanda Serrano were on hand to pitch in.
After a brief coffee break, a medical lecture was given by Dr. Michael Gonzalez and Dr. Jorge R. Miranda-Massari, entitled: Nutrition, Supplementation and Boxing: Basic Concepts.
One interesting concept posed was that pre-fight diets should be higher in Carbohydrates for energy, while post-fight meals should be higher in protein, for muscle repair. Recuperation includes restoring food, replenishing water and resting the body. Some recovery procedures include Massage, Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy and Infrared Sauna.
Unified WBO/WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk stopped in and was awarded the 2022 WBO Fighter of the Year award consisting of a plaque and a massive framed painting. He should have fun trying to get that back to Oxnard!
After a lunch break, Thomas Pütz, Tsuyoshi Yasukochi and Sergei Khursanov were formally welcomed as new WBO board members.
Luis Batista Salas delivered the WBO Championship report. There were 16 male WBO world title bouts in 2022 to date. The females WBO title fight count in the same time period was actually 18. One method being used to foster an increase in WBO title fights is the encouragement of promoters joining forces in joint promotions.
Leon Panoncillo, Jr. gave the WBO regional report regarding WBO Asia Pacific, Asia Youth, Asia Pacific Female, WBO International/International Female, WBO Oriental, Oriental Youth and WBO Africa. Panoncillo, Jr. reflected on the gradual return to normal following the last two years of the COVID-19 effect on boxing around the world. New paperwork including promoters’ fees and receipts will now be available on the WBO website for promoters to download and utilize.
A total of 69 WBO regional title fights garnered almost $250,000 in sanctioning fees.
Undisputed Super Middleweight Female Champion Franchon Crews arrived straight from the airport and immediately addressed the assembly- her first WBO convention, with great enthusiasm.
Richard De Cuir gave his NABO report, most notably that California accounted for 20% of the NABO title fights in America.
With that, the general assembly ended and delegates rested up for the evening Meet and Greet cocktail party to be held on the Azucena and Aleli Terraces of the host Royal Sonesta Hotel.
The Meet and Greet cocktail party was packed with delegates inside and outside, depending on whether or not one fancied warm, humid climate or air conditioning! While a musical duo performed classic standards with some tropical flavoring, Nonito Donaire and Joe Joyce goofed around- doing a little Caribbean dancing to the delight of onlookers .Franchon Crews and husband/fighter Glenn Dezurn mingled with guests, former WBO featherweight champion Orlando “Siri” Salido was on hand while current WBO featherweight champ Emanuel Navarrete also made an appearance. The morning will come early as the bus to transport ring officials to the referees seminar leaves for Ivan Calderon’s gym at 7 a.m. and the general assembly reconvenes at 8:30 in the hotel.
I still resent the WBOgus becoming a recognised title. Three was more than enough.
Actually one was more than enough.