Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Jose Sulaiman’s replacement to be named in April?

Fighters Network

WBC Secretary General Mauricio Sulaiman said he expects a new president to be named by April 16 in the wake of the passing of his father and long-time organization head, Jose Sulaiman, on Jan. 16 at the age of 82 at the UCLA Medical Center following complications from heart surgery on Oct. 1.

"There is speculation that it will be me, but what has to be done has to be done in accordance with the rules and regulations and the constitution of the WBC," said Mauricio Sulaiman, adding that rules require a replacement to be in place within 90 days or "around April 16."

"There's going to be a summit in China at the beginning of February, and I believe there will be some discussion, and then, perhaps a final decision based on what takes place there. Or there will be an extraordinary meeting depending on what they decide in China concerning the position of president of the WBC."

Mauricio Sulaiman also called retired former WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko "a hero" for the  42-year-old future potential Ukrainian president's efforts to calm violent protesters on Sunday in his country — actions which resulted in Klitschko's being sprayed in the face by a fire extinquisher. 

The leader of The Ukraine Democratic Alliance for Reform, Klitschko vacated his title and was subsequently named “Champion Emeritus” by the WBC, granting him the option of being able to return to the ring at any time and be eligible to fight for the title against the reigning beltholder.

Klitschko held the “Champion Emeritus” status when he was out of the ring from 2005 to October of 2008, when he ended his semi-retirement and challenged then-WBC titleholder Samuel Peter, who he stopped in eight rounds.

In Klitschko's absence, WBC ordered mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola to fight for the title. Stiverne's promoter, Don King, and Arreola's, Dan Goossen, are currently in talks. In the event that a deal can not be reached, Sulaiman said that a purse bid could be held on Friday.

"I spoke to Don King and to Dan Goossen, and I believe that they will reach an agreement. I believe that they will make it happen," said Sulaiman. "The purse bid is scheduled for this Friday. I am going to send a letter to have them notify us if they have reached an agreement. They've expressed the desire, though, to make a deal."

In his last fight in April, which was designated as a WBC elimination bout for the right to face Klitschko, Stiverne (21-1, 20 KOs) scored a third-round knockdown on the way to a unanimous decision over Arreola (35-3, 30 KOs), whom Klitschko stopped in September of 2009. In his last fight in September, Arreola stopped Seth Mitchell in the first round.