By Tris Dixon
WLADIMIR KLITSCHKO was awarded a ‘green belt’ by the WBC as they opened their 56th annual convention in Kiev in the Ukraine.
Wladimir had earlier given a stirring speech, lamenting that he never fought for the WBC title while it was around the waist of brother Vitali.
And it is because of Vitali, the mayor of Kiev, that the convention has landed in Kiev.
The former heavyweight champion announced the opening of the event and then was joined on stage by old rival Lennox Lewis.
They proceeded to commentate through highlights of their 2003 war in Los Angeles, sharing laughs and jokes.
Lewis closed out saying, “There should only be one belt, the green belt. Throw out all the other belts.”
Newly-minted WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter was also invited to speak by president Mauricio Sulaiman. He said he recalled speaking to Mauricio’s father Jose at the WBC convention in Las Vegas in 2013, with Jose saying one day he would fight for their title.
It was a good-natured way to kick-off the week-long schedule of events and a parade of champions included Marco Antonio Barrera, Amir Khan, Erik Morales, Marvin Hagler, Oleksander Usyk (who showed briefly before heading back to training camp for his fight on November 10 with Tony Bellew), Julio Cesar Chavez, Ricky Hatton, John H Stracey and many others.
But there are more serious matters are at hand this week.
Sulaiman said a priority was discussing fighter safety while former judge Duane Ford gave an early talk on scoring fights.
He implored referees to stay away from social media, to not have preconceived notions about fights they officiate and to stay away from pre-fight programming and build-up shows such as 24/7 and All Access.
“Don’t worry about your score, worry about your honesty and integrity,” he said, going on to say that each governing body should have a code of ethics to follow.
“You know what we have to be as officials? We need to be better, become better officials, better supervisors and better board members. To lift the WBC where we can because if we lift the WBC we will lift boxing.”