By Mauricio Sulaiman / Son of Jose Sulaiman / President of the WBC
The World Boxing Council unveiled the Mestizo Belt this past Thursday in Toluca, in the State of Mexico.
The WBC commemorative belts, of May 5 and September 16, were created to serve as a majestic trophy, which is presented to the winner of the highest-ranking fight held on these two traditional Mexican holidays, regardless of the nationality of the contenders.
It is a tradition spanning more than 40 years, so much so, that the most important fights take place precisely around these two dates, and it is more than significant, for the most important boxer in the world to define his annual calendar taking them into account as the focal point. These dates have been passed down for generations between Sal Sánchez, Chávez, De la Hoya, Érik Morales, Barrera, Márquez, Floyd Mayweather and now Saúl Canelo Álvarez.
It was a very emotive ceremony, in which the national sport of Mexico “Charreria” was displayed. Those present and those virtually connected were able to enjoy a wonderful demonstration of the highly skilled activities that charros and skirmishes presented with great skill and passion. There was great synergy between the champions and the Charros, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual respect.
The Mestizo Belt has engendered a great impact, due to its beauty and the evident complexity involved in its concept and subsequent creation; It took more than 400 hours of work, in the able hands of brilliant Mexican artisans / artists. The leadership of the Secretariat of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the State of Mexico was magnificent, and with great passion plus, making it possible to have and hold this masterpiece, which is a superb work of art.
This concept was born in 2017, and every year a culture is selected for such belts. The first was a surprise that immediately positioned itself as something magnificent. A gift that boxing and Mexico gave to the world. The Huichol Belt achieved the objective of uniting art and culture with sport. It was made in the Sierra Madre, with thousands of beads depicting the design that the gods transmitted to the Huichol artisans during the traditional ceremony.
The second culture elected was the Chiapaneca, achieving two wonderful pieces using amber that only is produced in that particular state of our country. The belt was named after Bats’il Ajaw, which means “true hero.”
Then in 2019, the Mayan culture was elected with two works of art, produced by the Rubico gallery, in collaboration with Locos por el Arte, using jade and thus exalting the majestic feathered serpent Quetzalcóatl.
In 2020 the State of Mexico was selected, and due to the great diversity of cultures of this entity, it was decided to make the Mazahua edition first and for September the Otomí.
Those were two beautiful belts, which are based on the textiles of the region. Unfortunately, in 2020 there was no boxing, due to the pandemic, and the objective of presenting them to the world as it should be, was not achieved; For this reason, the WBC decided to grant 2021 to the State of Mexico, once again, towards the elaboration of the belts.
Fights in which these special recognitions have been awarded:
Huichol I, May 5: Canelo Álvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Huichol II, September 16: Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin.
Gennady Golovkin with Mauricio Sulaiman. GGG took the Chiapaneco Blue Belt to home in 2018.
Chiapaneco I, May 5: Gennady Golovkin vs. Vanes Martirosyan.
Chiapaneco II, September 16: Canelo Álvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin.
In that same 2018, Saúl Canelo Álvarez won the white Chiapaneco belt.
Maya I, May 5: Canelo Álvarez vs. Danny Jacobs.
Maya II, September 16: Tyson Fury vs. Otto Wallin.
Tyson Fury, won the Mayan Belt in September 2019.
Mazahua, May 5: Dedicated to the Heroes of Humanity for brave and dedicated medical services.
Otomí, September 16: Presented to Julio César Chávez at his exhibition with Travieso Arce.
Mestizo, May 5: Canelo Álvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders.
DID YOU KNOW…?
These belts have earned and gained acceptance throughout the boxing world. There are many champions of the past who constantly express their feelings, having not been able to obtain one of these works of art. Sugar Ray Leonard, Lennox Lewis, Roberto Durán and many more have constantly talked about and acknowledged their beauty plus the admiration they have for the rich Mexican culture.
My dad started creating commemorative belts to highlight the importance of a fight between great contenders.
The first was the Diamond Belt, which appeared on the scene, when Manny Pacquiao signed to fight Miguel Cotto. Don José actively participated in its design and in the selection of the diamonds that were part of that very expensive as well as exquisite belt which caught the attention of the world.
One day I brought him negative comments that appeared on social networks, criticizing that a new championship was being created… “Don’t worry, my son, there are fans and some media that are not interested in understanding the concepts of the innovations we make in boxing; This is a recognition for a fight. It will cause great publicity outside the common boxing media and many people who do not normally watch boxing will be drawn in to watch our sport.
“This is exactly what happened when we went down from 15 to 12 rounds; the same when we changed the weigh-in to one day before the fight; when we eradicated the six-ounce gloves and thus in every change there is resistance, it is human nature.”
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