by Ronnie Nathanielsz
World Boxing Council Silver champion and mandatory title challenger Denver Cuello plans to take legal action against the WBC headed by its president Don Jose Sulaiman over their failure to abide by a commitment to give Cuello a mandatory crack at the world title won by China’s Xiong Zhao Zhong in Kunming, China last November 24.
The decision to sue the WBC and Sulaiman arose after the WBC indicated it would sanction a voluntary defense by Zhong in a fight card being planned for the US early next year possibly against No. 4 ranked Mexican Juan Hernandez.
Cuello’s manager Aljoe Jaro had agreed to step aside and allow Zhong to fight for the vacant title against Mexican Javier Martinez Resendiz after Cuello won a title eliminator with a smashing 2nd round TKO of another Mexican Ganigan Lopez after earlier winning the Silver title with a 1st round demolition of Carlos Perez on October 15, 2011.
WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman had requested Cuello to step aside in order to draw the huge Chinese market into the WBC. The step aside fee was $25,000.
In a telephone interview with the Manila Standard last October 2, Sulaiman promised that Cuello would get a crack at the winner of the Zhong-Martinez title fight which was originally set for October 27 but was postponed to November 24 because, according to Sulaiman he “received information that Zhong injured his left hand.”
Sulaiman clearly stated “after that Denver Cuello will fight for the title.”
The WBC president earlier told us that the Chinese promoters had “reached an agreement with Mr. Aljoe Jaro (promoter/manager/trainer of top-rated Cuello) who originally refused but at my personal request accepted a step maside fee with the condition that Cuello who is the Silver champion and also the official challenger would face the winner in a title fight.”
Aljoe Jaro appealed to us after he received word that the WBC had acceded to a request by the Chinese fighter’s handlers for a voluntary defense first which the WBC board of governors granted during the recent convention in Cancun, Mexico.
Jaro told us "its terrible what the WBC has done. I feel sorry for the Cuello who is tired of waiting for a long time (2 years) for a title shot which was a commitment made by Sulaiman.”
BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard was able to contact Don Jose in his home in Mexico and he sought to defend the actions of the WBC.
Sulaiman claimed the issue of a voluntary defense was raised at the last WBC convention in Cancun, Mexico and "there was no objection. Nobody said anything and there were many representatives from the Philippines" even as he learned that Aljoe Jaro had left for Las Vegas to watch the Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight.
Jaro flatly denied the claim stating that he had even spoken to Sulaiman's son and WBC executive secretary Mauricio Sulaiman and informed him that they were “not willing to step aside again.”
Sulaiman said the decision to allow Zhong a voluntary title defense was "approved by the board of governors and they can take any decision. I cannot represent Jaro. He is a good friend but I can't work for him. He cannot pressure me."
He said they had received a letter from promoter Gary Shaw about a possible title fight featuring Zhong in Las Vegas with Cuello on the same card.
Internationally respected referee Bruce McTavish confirmed that the Chinese promoter would meet with Shaw in Bangkok on January 8 to finalize the opponent for Zhong.