WBO Convention Day 3
The 24th Annual WBO Convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico came to a conclusion yesterday with what many boxing insiders consider the most entertaining events of the week: the Championship and Ratings committee meetings and the award ceremony.
The proceedings kicked off in the Morning as president Francisco “Paco” Valcarcel and the board entertained motions from the floor from numerous promoters and even fighters to move up the WBO workd rankings, and in some instances to enter the world rankings altogether. As always, colorful American promoter Gary Shaw stole the show with his frequent jokes, often at the expense of a fellow promoter , who had the misfortune of attending the event wearing a pink shirt and matching pink shoes.
“First of all, anyone wearing pink and pink sneakers should not be allowed at this microphone,” Shaw said jokingly, “he should only be allowed to argue for women’s fights.”
The first motion kicked off with Japanese promoter Ulysses G. Sato, who made a motion to see Japanese mini-flyweight Katsunari Takayama move into the top ten (he is currently ranked #12).
From there, Philippine promoter Mike Aldeguer of ALA Boxing told the board that his junior flyweight champion, Ramon Garcia, was tentatively looking to fight contender Tommy Seran on March 17 of 2012. A representative of Carlos Rueben Dario Ruiz, the #8 ranked contender and Latino champion, made no demands, but did make sure that the board was familiar with his accomplishments and desire to fight for a world title if the opportunity arose. It was a statement that brought a lighthearted response from President Valcarcel.
“If you talk to the Filipinos, they would love to fight you!” joked Valcarcel, “They love to fight the Argentines!”
Another argument from the floor to see Spanish veteran Rafael Lozano into the WBO rankings brought more lighthearted jabs from the President. Although Lozano possesses a 25-3 record, and won both a Bronze medal in the Olympics and the Spanish Junior Flyweight title in his last fight, many couldn’t help but notice his advanced age (he is 41-years old). When reminded of the Bronze medal, Valcarcel quipped “When?! In 1974?!”
From there the discussions moved to the Flyweight discussion where President Valcarcel noted that champion Brian Viloria would fight #1 contender Giovani Segura of Mexico in his next fight. A discussion of the 115-pound division talk about popular champion Omar Narvaez of Argentina, and an argument from Gary Shaw to move Cesar Seda Jr., the #2 ranked contender from Puerto Rico, into a title fight. Offering a box-off with #1 contender Isack Junior, Shaw was determined to see his young contender fighting for the world title before the next convention. Another argument from the Argentine delegation was entertained for #6 ranked contender Roberto Sosa, the unbeaten prospect from Argentina with a 21-0 record to move into the top five.
At Bantamweight the discussion was all around whether or not champion Nonito Donaire was going to move up in weight or not. Philippine promoter Mike Aldeguer argued for his fighter, Alex John Banal to fight in a title fight for a vacant title if that did occur (Banal is currently the #2 contender) while Gary Shaw argued for Vic Darchinyan.
At Junior Featherweight President Valcarcel announced that champion Jorge Arce had nine months to make his mandatory title defense. Top Rank’s Carl Moretti announced that it appeared that he would be fighting in Mexico in January against a ranked fighter for his first title defense. Gary Shaw argued along side Alex Camponovo for the winner of the Showtime fight between Chris Avalos (#4) and Jonathan Romero (#14) to move into the #1 slot. The fight is slated for December 2 on Showtime. Presedent Valcarcel was open to the idea, but wouldn’t commit to the jump just yet.
“We don’t’ have to decide now,” commented Vaslcarcel, “We need the committee to decide if the fighter moves to #1.”
At Featherweight there was a buzz over the fact that previous #1 contender Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo of Thailand won another organizations championship, thus opening up the top ten more movement. An argument was made for undefeated Aussie Joel Brunker to move into the top ten, before it was recognized that he had in fact moved into the #5 slot. Alex Camponovo wanted Abraham Lopez (16-0) to enter the rankings, as well as Colombian bomber Daluis Prescott (23-0), the brother of Breidis.
Despite Prescott’s impressive record, President Valcarcel did raise some concerns with the level of opposition. In Prescott’s last fight, he stopped Elkin Zavaleta, who had a less than stellar record of (3-22) and Valcarcel pointed out that he fought Victor Peralta twice (Peralta has a 1-28-2 record).
From there, many familiar names were offered to the board in an attempt to move up the rankings, including Ray Bautista from the Philippines.
Gary Shaw then introduced a young, undefeated prospect named Jose Pedraza (4-0), a Puerto Rican who Shaw promised would become very familiar to the world of boxing in the coming years. President Valcarcel suggested a fight with Pedraza for a Youth title, a suggestion that Pedraza warmly embraced.
“That’s what I want to do,” commented the young Puerto Rican fighter, “I would be very happy to hold that belt.”
Although the highest weight classes saw many familiar names discussed as they argued to move up, and in some instances remain in, the world rankings, there was little question that there would also be many newcomers entering the rankings. Although Gary Shaw had words with Argentine promoter Mario Margossian, the most interesting Shaw moment when he made a short, simple request for Chad Dawson to move up to the #1 spot at 175.
“The world saw what happened with Hopkins,” Shaw said, “Chad Dawson should be #1.”
At heavyweight the most noteworthy moment came when Chauncy Welliver, and his manager Roland Jankleson, stood before the podium and petitioned for a higher ranking. Welliver, the #10 ranked heavyweight, recently won the WBO China Zone championship, and with his growing popularity in China, pushed to see his ranking move up. Although Championship Committee Chairman Luis Batista Salas had a vigorous cross examination of Welliver and Jankleson, in which questions were raised about Welliver’s attempt to defend his WBO Asia-Pacific belt against Marcellus Brown (a fight that was not approved by the WBO), Welliver and Jankleson did seem to make the most of their opportunity to present their case to the board, citing the fact that Welliver is the most active fighter in the top ten, with over 50 wins and five fights in 2011 so far.
A strong argument from Markus Aslani followed, in which the German pushed to see Lebanese born prospect Manual Charr enter the top ten as well. Charr scored an impressive knockout over former contender Owen Beck in 2010 and former contender Danny Williams earlier this year. Also, Hedi Taouab pushed for undefeated Italian Francesco Pianeta and former world champion Ruslan Chagaev to enter the WBO rankings.
After the ranking the WBO proudly introduced their new webpage at www.wbo-int.com and announced that it would be unveiled to the world during the evening’s gala dinner. Finally, the grievance committee proposed a slight modification to Rule 13 (a)(2)(a), which referred to mandatory challenges.
The event concluded with the Gala dinner that evening in which the new web page was unveiled, and the annual awards were handed out. Golden Boy Promotions won three awards (NABO Promoter of the Year, and two Special Recognition Awards for Eric Gomez as matchmaker of the year and to Golden Boy Promotions from WBO Intercontinental), while Bob Arum and Top Rank won three as well (NABO Special Recognition Award, Executive of the Year award to Carfl Moretti , and Promoter of the Year for Bob Arum). Wladimir Klitschko won Fighter of the Year award, while Marco Huck won the Most Exciting Fighter of the Year Award. Mario Margossian won Latin Promoter of the Year, and Wilfred Sauerland won European Promoter of the Year. Yessica Bopp won Female Fighter of the Year, while Promoter Frank Warren received a Special Recognition Award, as well as Heavyweight Contender Chauncy Welliver.