58 Years of the WBC and its Impact to Philippine Boxing
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sun, 21 Feb 2021
February 14, 2021 was Valentine's Day and it also marked the 58th anniversary of the World Boxing Council or WBC, acknowledged today as the primus inter pares, the first among equals of the four recognized major global boxing sanctioning bodies that included the World Boxing Association (WBA), the International Boxing Federation(IBF) and the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
The WBC was initially established by eleven countries that included the Philippines, the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. Their representatives met in Mexico City on 14 February 1963, upon invitation of Adolfo López Mateos, then President of Mexico, and formed WBC as an international organization to unify all commissions of the world to control the expansion of boxing.
Prior to the formation of the WBC, the American National Boxing Association or NBA which later transformed itself into the WBA held an almost sole monopoly of sanctioning world title fights and recognizing world champions challenged only from time to time by such groups as the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC), the European Boxing Union (EBU) and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) all of which lacked the all-encompassing 'international' status they claimed.
That could be the compelling reason the then Mexican president Mateos was prompted to lead in the foundation of the WBC in 1963 with Luis Spota as inaugural president. It is common knowledge that Mexicans passion for boxing is rivalled only by their love for cockfighting, soccer and baseball (Much like Pinoys who are torn between boxing and basketball).
Significantly, the WBC proceeded to recognize the then reigning eleven world champions in as many weight divisions as its inaugural title holders which included two Filipinos namely: Gabriel Flash Elorde and Roberto Cruz, champions respectively in the junior lightweight and junior welterweight classes.
The other WBC inaugural world champions were Americans Sonny Liston (heavyweight), Harold Johnson (light heavyweight), Denny Moyer (junior middleweight) and Davey Moore (featherweight), Nigerian Dick Tiger (middleweight), Cuban Luis Rodriguez (welterweight), Puerto Rican Carlos Ortiz (lightweight), Brazilian Eder Jofre (bantamweight) and Thai Pone Kingpetch (flyweight).
Today, WBC has 161 member countries worldwide.
The current WBC President is Mauricio Sulaimán. Former Presidents include Spota and Ramon G. Velázquez of Mexico, Justiniano N. Montano Jr. of the Philippines and José Sulaimán of Mexico from 1975 until his death in 2014.
The coming of the WBC proved to be the long sought after needed shot in the arm for its member countries especially the Philippines which found itself without a world champion four years later in 1967 with Flash Elorde finally losing his junior lightweight title to Japan's Yoshiaki Numata.
It was providential that then Cavite Governor Montano, chairman of the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) was elected WBC president in 1968. Together with Atty Rodrigo Rudy Salud, Montano worked and persevered to give deserving Filipino fighters immediate shot at the world title.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Teodoro Medina Reynoso.
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