by Ronnie Nathanielsz
World Boxing Council president Don Jose Sulaiman will recommend that WBC Silver champion and mandatory challenger Denver Cuello fights Chinese champion Xiong Zhao Zhong next instead of a planned voluntary defense by the champion against a still unnamed fighter reportedly in Las Vegas.
In response to a suggestion from this writer that Zhong defend the title against Cuello next, Sulaiman said “ I sincerely feel very sorry for what is happening in this matter, and I feel bad with so much pressure, specially when Cuello is not being left without any compensation and the delay for his opportunity will only be of 3 months. Of course I will suggest very strongly your recommendation to them, just in case that they don't have any challenger already agreed.”
Sulaiman stressed “We don't mean to hurt neither Cuello nor Aljoe Jaro (his promoter/trainer), who is a friend for who we have the highest esteem and empathy . Even for the historical first title fight in China, we would not let it happen without paying a step aside fee” which was reportedly $25,000.
The WBC president recalled that “at the WBC private Board Meeting only the Cuello name was mentioned, but when the general assembly received the request for a voluntary defense in Las Vegas, with direct television for more than 150 Chinese TV viewers, nobody spoke during the meeting. I am really very sorry.”
Sulaiman said there was a unanimous vote in favor of the Chinese request “because all of the WBC wants to support China to see if we could bring that country into WBC and boxing. A first voluntary defense could be great for calling the attention of the Chinese fans” following reports that the battle for the vacant title in Kunming last November 24 had a viewership of some 125 million.
While giving us an assurance that he “will try hard to propose our request (that Zhong’s first title defense be against Cuello) but if it is not possible, the only damage might be the postponement of no more than 3 months of the opportunity for Denver, as the winner must and will have to sign a commitment before their fight.”
Don Jose once again stressed “Believe me I feel bad for Ailjoe , as we have, specially Mauricio (Sulaiman) the highest esteem for him- But I don't feel that there will be a serious damage at all.”