by Ronnie Nathanielsz
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) has paid a magnificent tribute to celebrate the life and work as well as what was described as “the historic achievements” of the late WBC president Don Jose Sulaiman.
Sulaiman was cited primarily for his efforts in making boxing a safer sport and for his hands-on attitude towards boxers.
Don Jose’s son Mauricio Sulaiman who was overwhelmingly chosen to succeed his late father was touched by the fact that promoters, retired and active fighters, politicians and some of Don Jose’s family got together to pay homage to the great leader in the world of professional boxing.
Among those in attendance was “The Golden Boy” Oscar De La Hoya, Sugar Ray Leonard, Gabriel Ruelas, Carlos Palomino, Leo Santa Cruz, Israel Vazquez, promoter Dan Goosen and California member of Congress Grace Napolitano.
In what the WBC described as “a very emotional event” the guests took to the rostrum one by one to share what they regarded as precious memories of Don Jose who was extolled as the most important and progressive leader in the history of boxing.
It was recalled that Don Jose was not only involved with active bixers but was also acutely aware of fighters who had come upon hard times and it was through his untiring efforts that a pension fund to help these fighters was established.
Congresswoman Napolitano spoke about the financial contributions made to UCLA for sports medical research by the WBC thanks to Don Jose’s unwavering efforts.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman recalled his father’s tireless efforts to donate $1 million to UCLA to help in a study of brain injuries under their medical research programs, Sulaiman said that the major theme which engaged Dion Jose’s mind and inspired his determination and governed his actions in the visionary program was so successful that UCLA along with the United States government adopted it and it has since evolved and developed into a program covering American football and other sports.