Boxing

WBC chief Jose Sulaiman, 'father of boxing,' dies at 82

Jose Sulaiman
The WBC confirmed Jose Sulaiman's death, calling him the 'father of boxing.'
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MEXICO CITY (AP)

Jose Sulaiman, the longtime head of the World Boxing Council who introduced rules to protect boxers, died on Thursday. He was 82.

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Sulaiman's son, Mauricio Sulaiman, said his father died at a hospital in Los Angeles. He had been hospitalized at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center for months for a heart condition.

The Mexico-based WBC confirmed his death.

''He certainly treated all fighters as his sons and daughters, he suffered from their problems and worked every single day of his life to try to make boxing better and safer,'' the council said in a statement.

Sulaiman boxed as an amateur and became a manager, trainer, and referee. At 16, he joined a Mexican boxing commission and moved to the WBC in 1968, won a unanimous vote to become president in 1975, and remained in charge ever since.

At his induction to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2007, Sulaiman was recognized for leading the WBC when it introduced many new rules to improve boxers' safety and welfare.

''Among the changes are reduction of world championship bouts from 15 rounds to 12, the official weigh-in 24 hours prior to each bout, the creation of intermediate weight divisions, creation of the World Medical Congress, introduction of the attached thumb glove and funding of brain injury research programs at UCLA,'' the hall said.

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The son of a Syrian mother and a Lebanese father, Sulaiman was born in Mexico. He managed Julio Cesar Chavez, Mexico's most famous boxer, and the fighter's son, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.

Chavez was among the first fighters to tweet a message, sending his condolences and calling him his ''second family.''

''Rest in peace, my dear `licenciado' Balin, like I used to call him with a lot of love,'' Chavez wrote.

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