The dean and governing body of universal boxing has been governed for the past 39 years by Venezuelans Gilberto and Gilberto Jesús Mendoza.
“In the WBA our policy is clear and simple: to recognize the talent, male or female, in the most remote corners of the universe, providing the alternative of individual growth and the path of social improvement, through a hierarchical organizational system, regulated, fair and preservation of human rights, all combined with the love and common interest of all of us. Let’s make boxing a universal sport, yes, but with a social conscience”.
(This message, which we have summarized, was written by current president Gilberto Jesús Mendoza on the occasion of the traditional 2015 Annual Dinner held in Panama City. Although the text has slight modifications, in essence it retains full validity in its postulates, undoubtedly, in this 2021, since July 2, the dean boxing entity of the boxing world is celebrating its first 100).
This year, the World Boxing Association, dean of the governing bodies of the millenary discipline of the gloves and “flat noses” celebrates as we said in previous lines, its first centenary because in 1921 it was created under the name of the National Boxing Association (NBA), an appendix of the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSC), founded with the participation of 13 entities of the United States of America and in July of the same year sanctioned its first ‘world title fight with the bout in New Jersey of heavyweights Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier in which the American, named in the first term, retained his crown with a 4-round TKO against the French challenger.
It is not easy to summarize such a long history in which the entity, currently led by the Venezuelan Gilberto Jesus Mendoza – historically its 45th president – has given huge and countless contributions to the development and expansion of boxing, began to renew regulations in England in the late nineteenth century, until it became one of the most popular sports.
The brief lines at the beginning of this text contain a statement by President Mendoza, which summarizes the philosophy that has guided the organization since its inception, which is to seek the greatest progress of the activity always with the boxer, its main actor, as the most precious asset that must be protected in every possible way, especially his physical integrity and his development, with emphasis on his citizenship and economic development.
Such principles were endorsed at the 98th Annual Convention held in Fuzhou, China, late 2019, where delegates from 47 countries ratified the entity’s mission. The participating countries representatives discussed a wide variety of topics among which the designation of the “champion in recess”, which will now be called “inactive champion”, and it was agreed to establish a sanction fee for the right to call a Purse Bid. At the same time, particular attention was given to the creation of the WBA Boxing Academy and to the objective of strengthening ties with amateur boxing, an area to which President Mendoza has given a very special relevance.
At this point it is worth recalling some of the history of the organization. To that effect, let us say that in its first 39 years it was chaired by American leaders; first was Walter Liginger (1921-22) and the last was Charles Larson (1961-63). In between there are the names of great men who pushed the governing body along the path of success and prestige. At the end of the 1970s, the high number of votes contributed by various Latin American countries that joined the organization, almost, 46 years ago, the election of Panama’s Elías Córdova (1974-77), who was succeeded by Venezuela’s Fernando Mandry Galíndez (77-79) and Isthmus’s Rodrigo Sánchez (79-82), in the highest office. Then came the long mandate of Venezuelan industrial engineer Gilberto Mendoza who had the support of Sánchez, who was suffering from a terminal illness and assumed the presidency on October 7, 1982 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Mendoza remained 33 years at the head of the entity and left office in 2015, afflicted by a disease that caused his death on March 11, 2016. His achievements are many, including the development of the Rules and Procedures for classifications, the successful global campaign “KO Drugs”, the creation of several WBA affiliated entities in various regions of the world, among many other activities of great impact, which would be too long to list and that have contributed decisively to the development of the activity around the world.
Mendoza was replaced in the top position by his son, Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, who was elected by acclamation by the delegates present at the 2015 Convention in Panama. Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, endowed with the accumulated experience in the Executive Committee, has the tools necessary to guide the entity successfully, supported by his immediate and experienced collaborators. As a fair recognition of his 33 years of work, Gilberto Mendoza was posthumously appointed President Emeritus of the institution..
Gilberto Jesús Mendoza reelected until 2025
Gilberto Jesús Mendoza’s management at the helm of the ship (as his father used to say when referring to the organization) was extended unanimously by the 10 votes – in addition to receiving the support of the entire directorate – until 2025, on May 20, 2020 at the convention and with ample possibilities of continuing in office when the period in question ends.
At the helm of the boxing organization, he has made unprecedented achievements, such as the creation of the WBA Academy, which aims, among others, to ensure the systematic development of the sport, the proximity to countries such as China, Russia and Mexico, the transformation into a professional and amateur organization to support the development of boxing in all areas, as well as the implementation of innovative communication tools to work effectively and adapted to today’s world. He is also responsible for the creation of the “WBA Future Champions” and “WBA Challenge” programs, which seek to strengthen support plans for future generations of boxers. Before ascending to the great management position, Mendoza served as Secretary and then as Executive Vice President, roles in which he began to develop a hard work towards expanding opportunities for professional boxers, with emphasis on the Latin American region due to the particular economic conditions of the area.
After being re-elected, Gilberto Jesus gave a brief speech of gratitude to the delegates from the various countries present, stating, among other things: “I reiterate my gratitude to those who have given me their vote of confidence, to those who have adhered to the work plan of the past five years. We still need to continue and there are still things to do. We will continue to make progress in things like getting closer to the athlete and systematic development.” And he added that “I think the well-known words of my father (Gilberto Mendoza Sr.) fit, we can do it, let’s do it, let’s do it together.
This is how I have wanted to act. We must remain united. I am thankful for allowing me to be part of something historic. It is complex, we have done productive things. Thanks to the doctors, to the officials, to the academy, I want to tell them that they will continue to be the pillars of my administration. Now we want to put effort into information technology, among other things, but regardless of any system we have, the most important thing is the human resources and the people who accompany us. Many thanks to the directors,” he concluded.