EVEN in the heart of Las Vegas, in the final few days ahead of Canelo-Chavez, the stunning heavyweight clash between Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko at a packed Wembley Stadium has been the topic of much conversation.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman told Boxing News, “That was humbling. They brought back interest to the heavyweight division in the best way possible. It was tremendous, it was exciting. I’m just very proud. Anthony Joshua won a medal in the Olympics, was first ranked by the WBC. He won the WBC International [title], he was the first top 10 ranked [by the WBC] and then he kept moving. He was number two in the WBC when he got the opportunity to fight for another title and he was able to become champion and now he has demonstrated his absolute value by knocking out Wladimir Klitschko. I’m very proud, he’s such a nice person. Joshua is a role-model. That’s what boxing needs inside and outside the ring. I’m very proud and I’m sure one day he will be WBC champion.”
Sulaiman would like to see Deontay Wilder and Joshua fight for the WBC heavyweight crown. “That would be a huge fight. Wilder is a great champion and he likes to be active and that would be a tremendous fight. We will support it.”
He continued, “Wilder has a mandatory and I don’t know what’s the status of Joshua. Being champion he’s got two other titles and he might have a mandatory, I don’t know. But I’m sure eventually it will happen. We will do whatever it takes to make it happen.”
Wilder has a strange mandatory challenger to face in Bermane Stiverne, the man Wilder defeated to win the world title. Sulaiman explained, “Stiverne was a champion and Wilder beat him by decision and then Stiverne was going to fight a final elimination against [Alexander] Povetkin and the fight was cancelled due to a positive doping [test]. So he became mandatory through that process.”
Although the Russian is appealing, the WBC have banned Povetkin for two years. “Boxing is not a game,” Sulaiman emphasised. “It’s a dangerous sport and you have to protect the intergrity and the safety of the fighters. I believe in clean boxing, I believe most of the fighters wouldn’t ever something on purpose to hurt an opponent, take advantage. But there are so many supplements, so many products that they don’t even know contain performance enhancing drugs so it’s our task to make sure they become educated about the dangers of what they take in their bodies.”