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Jose Sulaiman On Drugs

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wbc-logoDrugs in boxing today in the WBC demand a clarification. I was “baptized” with a dramatic drug problem back in 1971, during my first representation of the WBC when I was still the Secretary General. I went out of Mexico to a fight when one of the corners used a yellow liquid for their boxer, which was confiscated. It was a big dose of amphetamines. Even when there were no anti-doping rules at the time, there was no doubt that it was an intentional act as a stimulant.

It became a fight among nations that led me to get deep in this matter, with the WBC being one of the very first international sports organizations to adopt anti-doping rules back in 1975, as one of my very first actions in my first election as president.

My first action was to appoint a WBC medical board with Dr. Adrian Whiteson as chairman and Dr. Francisco Massa as vice-chairman – unforgettable friends and hard-working and committed medical leaders – who worked for the implementation of all kinds of medical rules that immediately changed the sport from being a legal act of savages to the safety that we have today, with the intervention of newer generations and very importantly with the leadership of Dr. Donald Catlin, of UCLA at the time, for the implementation of antidoping rules, that started being in effect since back in 1975. It was much before FIFA, NFL, and others.

The WBC did not, do not, and I believe that we will not adhere to any other drug system of any other organization, as boxing is a unique and different sport. Amateur athletes devote not only to win at Olympic Games, but also to break records and win medals, regardless off weight, height or color, for the pride and honor of nations who keep them well in life and therefore, may take or accept whatever will make them win and probably do whatever might be necessary. Boxing is a sport that always has two rivals – the weight being the first, and a challenger the second.

The WBC started with a specific objective and policy. First, the abolition of stimulants that have a direct mental influence on a boxer that may give them an edge over their rivals, while also hurting themselves. Second, for the sake of safety and the protection of the boxers, to forbid any drug, including pharmaceuticals, that might create a disease in the short or long terms.

The time of getting urine samples for the antidoping tests is absolutely none other than in the dressing rooms before going into the ring, or after the fights, which is the routine and stated in the rules. The WBC only wants to test how a fighter is at the time of his performance and no other time, unless it is a special circumstance. They are professionals and sign for one fight at a time, every number of months. The WBC requests WADA approved testing systems, but only of the specific substances that are prohibited in the rules and regulations of the WBC.

The tests are done by the local boxing commissions, most with which we have excellent relations and amicable agreements of mutual cooperation. We are, and have been, testing against drugs in boxing since 1975 and we have had only 15 positives in 37 years and about 1,600 fights. We have heard of boxers going into the toilet and have someone else urinate and other alleged actions, but we have never been able to prove it.

I have known several boxers who are said to be addicts, but the WBC has always requested the tests included in our regulations, without exception, after WBC fights, with no more than 2% of cases when commissions do not report the tests. It is also important to prove the intention, because unwilling matters happen, like Erik Morales having a positive test of a low dose of clenbuterol, which in Mexico is natural. That is what farmers give to cattle for their fattening, or someone with a low dose of marijuana, who could have been in a room and inhaled the smoke of others.

Boxing is a clean sport, as our data proves. Boxers are people coming from humble beds, who are proud and lovers of the only opportunity that they receive in boxing to live a decent and a life with dignity. Boxing is a great sport and the people all around the world working to supervise boxing and work for the safety of the sport are just as great.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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