By Mauricio Sulaimán – Son of José Sulaimán – WBC President
It all started with an email that reached the general account of our organization. One of the great virtues of my father, Don José Sulaimán, was to attend to absolutely all the issues that came and from whoever sought him out by letter, email, call or visit.
Jill Diamond wrote a long letter calling for women’s boxing to be dignified. Jill lost her husband to the terrible demon of cancer, and fate led her to find meaning when boxing appeared in her life. He began training this discipline at the Mendez gym in Manhattan, and found the brotherhood that exists in the noble sport of fists.
That email was answered by my dad and from there followed an eventual meeting in Los Angeles and an endless chain of communications, until Jill traveled to Torre Molinos, in Spain, to join the WBC at the organization’s annual convention.
The women’s world championship was born and it was, precisely, Jackie Nava, La Princesa Azteca, the first woman to win said championship. Women’s boxing is a reality and maintains organic growth year after year.
Jill continued to recognize the nobility of boxers, of sport and of all the members of the World Boxing Council and then presented her proposal to create a unique program, based on the principles of social responsibility; This is how WBC Cares “Big champions supporting little champions” was born.
Monarcas, members of the Governing Board, ring officials, members of the media, promoters, managers, coaches; In short, any member of the boxing community, from the 170 countries affiliated to the WBC, actively participate in WBC Cares events, which include visits to children’s hospitals, schools, gyms, orphanages, rehabilitation centers, rehabilitation centers and even prisons.
Visits full of love, messages of hope, inspiration and resilience. Toys, gifts, autographs and photographs, unforgettable moments and eternal memories for so many people who in fragile situations need a signal to understand that, like the champions in the ring, with work, perseverance, faith, sacrifice and trust obstacles can be solved that occur in life.
We are celebrating the 15th anniversary of this beautiful initiative that José Sulaimán and JillDiamond created and to which, over the years, thousands of people have joined. We have 26 chapters with continuous programs throughout the year, as well as visits and recurring events around the world.
My wife Christiane Manzur runs the activities in Mexico and this has changed her life. Being able to serve with heart in hand and living with passion each action, each moment, each visit, has helped him understand why my dad and now I dedicate our lives to this great sport.
DID YOU KNOW…?
The first WBC Cares visit was scheduled at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.
Days before we received a statement that shocked us, as some hospital committee spoke out against receiving “boxers” to visit their patients; something that our sport commonly suffers from, in that irresponsible prejudice that borders on discrimination.
Finally, the visit was approved and Genaro Chicanito Hernández and ÉrikTerrible Morales, accompanied by Jill, toured various modules and greeted children and relatives fighting cancer. It was a moment that sowed the foundation of what is lived around the world today. The event was a success, it exceeded expectations, and everyone’s smiles and enthusiasm were impressive.
Chicanito Hernández was marked, shocked by the emotions he experienced that day. Then he returned on his own and brought Nintendos to give to all the little ones he had visited days before.
Later it turned out that our beloved champion was diagnosed with cancer. One day he received a letter from a little boy encouraging him to recover, encouraging him to continue as a champion. Chicanito lost the battle and passed away, and since then he has served as an inspiration to WBC Cares as our eternal monarch.
On this 15th anniversary we have created the official WBC Cares mascot and it has been proudly named “Chicanito”
JillDiamond had communicated with my dad by email and some calls. They finally agreed to meet in Los Angeles, as he was there for gallbladder surgery.
Jill arrived at the Westwood Marquis Hotel, one of Don José’s favorite places, and called my dad, who was in a lot of trouble. Sensitive, he said, “Please don’t worry, we can meet in the future; I see that it does not feel very well ”.
My dad replied: “No, Jill, don’t worry, we go to the restaurant and we can talk there, and I’m really hungry.” That’s how Don José was, food was his passion and in that talk WBC Cares was born.
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