Collaboration is key, Sulaiman says following promoter summit

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman hosted a summit of some of the sport’s most powerful promoters in Las Vegas this week, to see how more of them can work together for the benefit of the sport.

Among those present were Bob Arum, Eddie Hearn, Tom Brown, Salvatore Cherchi, Luis de Cubas, Tom Loeffler, Carl Moretti, Fernando Beltrán, Tom Loeffler and Duane Ford (NABF and WBC Ring Officials Committee).

Sulaiman said Frank Warren could not attend on medical grounds and George Warren was in Saudi Arabia ahead of the February 17 bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. Yvon Michel and Camille Estephan could not attend and the meeting, four years in the making but arranged for around a year. Golden Boy also could not send a representative as it coincided with a promotion they were working on. 

“It was very important to meet and to see face-to-face, to have networking and shake hands, have a cup of coffee, some of them never met before, only through email or phonecalls, letters of statements by third parties, so there’s always the importance of being face-to-face, understanding that we are all human beings, we are all friends, we are in the same sport and the ultimate goal is collaboration,” Sulaiman said. 

“The promoters are the ones that create boxing. Without promoters there’s no boxing, and the promoters are responsible to do a lot of work in many aspects and, in an industry that is fragmented, the goal is to start making this work as a real industry, for the benefit of everyone; so if one has a promotion, the other should be happy and wish for success.” 

Some of the promoters were able to arrive the night before and had dinner. The meeting was held at the Wynn in Las Vegas, and when they all got together they did so for around three hours, with some going for a meal afterwards.

“We used 2023 as an example of how cross-promotions work, how it is important that big fights happen,” the WBC boss added. “There were some big fights that happened in 2023 with promoters working with each other and this was one of the main topics. They see that they do have fighters in certain divisions that are of great interest and that those fights should be made.”

Sulaiman felt it had been a success. He said boxing in Saudi Arabia was “a topic of great interest to everybody” and that, overall, the meeting was “for the betterment of everyone.” 

“I believe it was a huge first step, and I am very, very happy,” Sulaiman continued. “It was all peaceful. There were, of course, differences of opinion but it was not a meeting with an agenda, of a specific topic. It was all natural. We talked about different things that have to do with the sport and how one can have a solution, can learn from the others, support the others and overall it was very friendly discussion which ended in a nice meal with anecdotes and jokes and a lot of good, positive energy.”