World Boxing Council News: Bradley-Cherry

From WBC President Jose Sulaiman: On the occasion of WBC super lightweight world champion Timothy Bradley Jr.'s title defense against challenger Edner Cherry, scheduled to be held in Biloxi, Mississippi, on September 13, members of the World Boxing Council have been threatened with imprisonment by the Mississippi State Athletic Commission, disregarding the rights that the WBC has of free association and free speech, as well as their denial of due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution..

It has been the customary practice among the boxing commissions of the U.S. and the rest of the world to reach amicable mutual agreements with boxing organizations like the WBC in regards to rules and the selection of ring officials, to accommodate the legal rights of the local boxing commissions to be the authority for the fights in their state, with the WBC, which is the legal officially-registered owner of its trademark and its WBC championship accolade.

The WBC, complying with the instituted system, started more than a month ago with a very courteous and amicable communications by phone and by email with the Mississippi commission, trying to establish open communications and even sending the agreed list of ring officials, which are certified, registered and agreed to by the ABC, as well as the WBC.

But regarding our courteous communications, we got only the following letter from Mr. Jon Lewis, chairman of the MSAC: "We have already appointed the officials for this event. We have extremely competent officials and they are not going to be fired from their job assignment for next week. The rules in Mississippi state that the commission appoints the officials. We do not allow outside parties to be involved in this process. We consider this practice unethical. There will be no further discussion on this matter.

Jon Lewis [signature]

We consider this answer a definite refusal to the due process as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. The three judges selected by the Mississippi commission, as respected and nice gentlemen as we think that they are, are not registered with the Association of Boxing Commissions, have never judged a world title fight, and have judged only eight, 16, and 18 fights respectively, which in most boxing countries mean that they are judges with experience in only four and six round bouts. They have had no training with the ABC, much less with the WBC.

The WBC was founded in 1963 and its infrastructure is based on an organization of 10 Continental Boxing Confederations, representing the 164 countries that are affiliated with the WBC, which has sanctioned 1,612 WBC world title fights in 63 different countries of the world, of which 1,336 have been under the tenure of the present president, José Sulaimán.

Those bouts have been fought by the very best boxers of the last half century, with all selected by the WBC in the world ratings to reach the top according of their results and merits. Among its champions, the WBC has had Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler, Roberto Durán, Tommy Hearns, Julio Cesar Chavez, Alexis Arguello, Floyd Mayweather, Oscar de la Hoya, and Timothy Bradley, who is fighting on September 13, as well as many other great champions who have used the WBC's championship accolade to become heroes and live a life of dignity.

As the WBC has as its backbone the respect of the rights of others, especially those that have done so much for boxing like the Showtime network, promoter Don King, promoter Gary Shaw, and all the other participants in this the boxing show, the WBC is not going to put into risk the celebration of the match as the promoters sold and Showtime bought world championship fights.

This is the reason why, once again, we are respectfully, humbly and amicably requesting the Mississippi commission to appoint our recommendations of judges Tom Kaczmarek and Max de Luca, both of whom are highly respected and considered among the best in the world.

Otherwise, and for the full respect of champion and challenger and putting their destiny in the hands of experienced and competent judges, as well as for the respect of the boxing fans of the world, the managers and representatives of the boxers, the promoters and Showtime themselves, if the MSAC continues refusing to accept the WBC's humble request, then we will strongly consider exercising our rights to purchase our tickets and sit in the audience to judge the fights. We will respect the local boxing judges for local decisions, but we will have to exercise our responsibility for the world recognition, given to us by a fight that has our trade mark and championship accolade, and upon which Mississippi has no legal authority.

In regards to our incarceration, the United States of America is a great country that exercises human rights and its laws. Many people in the stands score fights for their own interest, just as TV networks use their own judges for the benefit of their TV audience, just as we can use our own for the good of our members, including boxers and promoters.

The WBC - and it is meant the WHOLE BOARD OF GOVERNORS - are in support of begging the MSAC to come to their senses and reach a goodwill agreement, or proceed to protect the interests of boxers and world members.

The WBC has the highest respect and admiration for the Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, and applaud his extraordinary efforts and determination in Mississippi's recovery after the devastating damages done by hurricane Katrina. Just as he is so highly respected for his leadership, the WBC is not withdrawing recognition of the bout in respect to him.

September 11, 2008 – Mexico City

From WBC President Jose Sulaiman:

"The World Boxing Council, its President and Board of Governors, and its 164 affiliated nations extend our deepest and most sincere sympathy to all those families of the United States and the world who were hurt by the tragic deaths of so many innocent people at the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001.

"This inhuman sacrifice shall stand forever as a signal for humankind against violence and crime, and for our struggle for peace and goodwill among people of all races of the world.

Article posted on 11.09.2008

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