By Mauricio Sulaiman
WBC President – Jose Sulaiman’s son
The North American Boxing Federation (NABF)
As I fly back to Mexico after attending the 48th NABF Annual Convention in Washington DC, I can only reflect on what this great organization has done through its rich history. The NABF was founded by boxing commissioners from Canada, USA, and Mexico and became the Continental Boxing Federation affiliated to the WBC. My father’s introduction to international boxing was through the NABF and he was President for one term before being elected President of the World Boxing Council. My first official position in boxing was public relations in the WBC and in 1994 I was appointed by NABF president Sam Macias to serve as vice-president which gives me great pride to still hold such position in this great organization.
Some of the greatest world champions came from the NABF platform which provides that stepping stone to get to the “Major Leagues.” Muhammad Ali, Ken Norton, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roy Jones, Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and so many heroes were proud NABF champions during their careers.
The NABF membership was composed of boxing commissioners from the three countries and the participation of boxing commissions of the USA was the key to having a united front to address all the topics which have made boxing safer for the athletes. Unfortunately in 1997 things changed and a law was established in the USA which mandated that no boxing commissioner could belong to or be affiliated with a governing entity.
This law received the name of Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act and was intended to bring justice and clarity to the sport among other things. With the prohibition to be part of an organization, boxing commissioners of the USA were forced to distance themselves from the national and international activity and boxing in general lost some of the best, most knowledgeable and honorable persons. Many things have changed since. Today the NABF membership is by the affiliation of states represented mostly by ring officials.
I was present at the Association of Boxing Commission annual convention last week and I am certain that under the leadership of its President Michael Mazzulli things will change and will find boxing commissions working closely with sanctioning or governing organizations. The WBC is formed by commissioners from 165 countries, the NABF was founded by boxing commissioners, so it is only logic that State Boxing Commissions, which are the local jurisdiction sanctioning championship fights, work in harmony and with reciprocity agreements with the Governing Organizations which sanction the championship fights.
I was very happy to see IBF President Daryl Peoples present at the NABF Convention and to see ABC President Mike Mazzulli, California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster, former Nevada commissioner Joe Brown, all in the same room participating and working together to make boxing better, to make it safer.
The meetings were solid full of powerful statements by guest speakers, including Patrick English from Main Events and Andy Foster. Judges and referees seminars were successful and the search for uniformity in officiating continues. There were several special moments which show how great boxing is and how it is so important to us. WBC Cares’ visit to Washington Children’s Hospital was touching and the way NABF champion Oscar Cantu gave love to the kids bringing them smiles and hope, the way Duane Ford and his son Travis embraced and hugged in a priceless moment and the way Craig Hubble and Cowboy Griffin kept all of us laughing during their interventions during the Awards banquet…
Next year’s convention will most likely be taking place in Mexico and it will be then where the NABF family will meet again to continue the path which our founding fathers opened for this great boxing family, the North American Boxing Federation.
Thank you and I welcome any comments, suggestions or recommendations at email@example.com.
Photo courtesy WBC