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"We Are Just Starting To Warm Up!" - Sergio Sotelo

Posted on March 14 2012                                              Bookmark and Share
By: Dan Hernandez           


Communicating with Alan Santana, WBF North America Coordinator, and Sergio Sotelo, WBF Latin America Coordinator, regarding the immediate past, present and future of the World Boxing Federation is like asking a parent to highlight one thing about their newborn child. The enthusiasm that these two exuded was contagious and it is easy to see why the WBF is fast becoming a major player in the world boxing arena.

What fights were the highlights of the WBF this past year?

Alan: Dan, I think that one of the biggest highlights for the WBF this past 2011 was a fight card that was staged in South Africa where we had a total of six, count them, six WBF championship fights. Botha took on Michael Grant for our world heavyweight championship on that card, Grant won in the 12th round via KO with seconds to go in the fight. I would also have to say that travelling to Campbell, Ohio, where Miguel Gonzales fought and won our International light welter title was very exciting. Such a great kid, he has good looks and can really fight.

ergio: For me, being able to “open the doors” in a very tight market that previously was only available to the four main sanctioning bodies. This was possible because of the high ethics, professionalism and honesty that my team has shown. The WBF has been the main event in four out of the last six shows that we have been a part of and these shows have been broadcasted by Televisa, the largest Latin American network. In each of those shows we have sanctioned world title fights and we have been given the privilege to be the main event over the four still bigger organizations on four different occasions. This year we already have a very serious contender for “Fight of the Year”, between two great warriors, Juan Jose Montes and Oscar Ibarra. We are just starting to warm up.

Who are the outstanding champions of the WBF?

Alan: We currently have Ali Funeka, Malcolm Klassen, Patrick Hyland and Juan “Goofy” Montes. I feel that these guys can fight against any of the champions from the other governing bodies and give them one hell of a battle!

Sergio: Another good example is female world flyweight champion, Irma “La Guerita” Sanchez, who is also ranked # 4 on boxrec. Irma has defended her title twice since winning the championship in May 2011. Irma is a warrior that is going to be very hard to beat. Also I would like to mention light flyweight world champion Felipe Salguero. Felipe is a world class fighter and moving up fast in the boxrec evaluations. Felipe is a young fighter who gave us the “Fight of the Year”, according to the Tijuana Boxing Commission, when he won the WBF world title by split decision back in December 2010.

Means you believe the WBF champions are competitive with those of the other organizations?

Alan: Yes, I feel that our champions could compete with the best in the world, they are the same calibre or higher. 

Sergio: Of course! In fact, the Mexican champions Irma Sanchez and “Goofy” Montes, in particular, could beat anyone of the other organizations’ champions. There is no doubt in my mind. That’s the reason we are working so hard in Mexico to only bring the best fighters we can to fight for our titles, and we are making it happen. What good would it do just to focus on charging sanctioning fees and having clubfighters fight for our titles? The answer is none. We would be gone in a very short time.

What are your goals with the WBF for this year?

Alan: Some of our goals for the WBF are to stay as busy as possible staging championship bouts all over the world. By the look of things we are off to a great start. We are taking on the other sanctioning bodies and gaining the respect of many top USA promoters. It takes a lot of hard work building relationships and trust. Trust is very important in this business, trust between the promoters and the fighters will take us a long way. Sergio and I have worked very hard to do just that and it is starting to pay off for us here in the US and in Mexico. We have sanctioned title fights in Atlanta, Youngstown, Guadalajara and recently in Dover, Delaware.

Sergio: In my jurisdiction, our goal is to have at least one world title match per month and to work with only the best promoters who have the best boxers available. So far, this is being accomplished. We are currently working with Hector Garcia from HG Boxing, who is the second biggest promoter in Latin America and very soon we will be associated with other promoters such as Antonio Lozada from Baja Boxing, Edrulfo Castillo from Eco Productions, Jesus Zapari from Zapari Promotions and the legendary Tijuana promoter extraordinaire, Guillermo Mayen from Promociones Mayen. So we are very excited at what lies ahead of us in Mexico, as well as for the WBF.

What fights are scheduled and what fights are desired for 2012?

Alan: We have Botha taking on Grant in a rematch and Steve Forbes will be fighting soon for a WBF title. We are also staging a womans strawweight world title in April featuring Ana Arrazola vs. Columbia’s Mayerli Altamar. There are also plans for fights in Ireland that will feature some of the best Irish fighters in the world. Look for many more WBF title fights in the near future, 2012 will be quite busy.

Sergio: On March 31 we have Giovanni “Ruso” Caro fighting in Cabo, Mexico for the vacant WBF super bantamweight world title, his opponent is not yet set. Caro is another quality fighter like Montes, Sanchez and Salguero, who will give 100% to obtain a WBF title. Also in April we will most likely have a doubleheader with Irma Sanchez defending her title for the third time, followed by Alejandro Barrera going for the world welterweight championship. Alejandro is trained by world renowned, and member of the International Hall of Fame, “Nacho” Beristain.  Nacho, with Barrera, will start endorsing his fighters to fight for our titles. It is a great honor and a privilege to have such a renowned personality view us as a legitimate organization.

Finally, Sergio and Alan, who is your favourite WBF personality?

Sergio: Our WBF promoter Mr. Hector Garcia, who has been through hell and back battling with the networks and some sanctioning bodies who were and are very reluctant in having us sanction fights in Mexico. He believes in our mission and has supported our efforts in Mexico in a big way. So my hat goes off to Mr. Garcia and his entire team.

Alan: I would have to say our president, Howard Goldberg. He is quite the man, carrying a fulltime schedule with the WBF, he is a great guy. He has a lot on his plate, travelling around the world and making sure that everything about the WBF is always top notch.

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