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Presidents Column  |  September 2016: David Rajuili, We Salute You!
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COLUMN   Photo: World Boxing Federation (WBF) President Howard Goldberg.

It’s come and gone – but without doubt one of the finest Conventions I have ever been to, and I have been to many!

What made this WBF Convention so special and memorable was so many things. A beautiful country, an exquisite town, a fantastic spa hotel and incredible organization with attention to detail, together with more than 100 people from around the world.

I have said it many times, and will continue to say that the WBF is a family, everyone gets on with everyone, we laugh, we eat, we (occasionally, of course) drink and we have fun while conducting the necessary boxing business at the WBF Convention.

While I would like to express my gratitude to each and every delegate, whether they flew in from South America, Asia, Arabia or Africa or just drove a few hundred kilometers from neighboring Austria or Hungary, everyone is as important as the next, and I as President of the WBF am indebted to all of you for making this year’s WBF Convention so outstanding.

Of course with WBF champions Nicole Wesner, Michel Mothmora, Werner Kreiskott and former WBF champions Robin Reid and Jan Zaveck in attendance, we were delighted to have the “Golden Boy” Donny Lalonde and legendary Nino Benvenuti with us as well.

But despite all those big-names, South African fighter David Rajuili deserves more than just a passing mention. When we were approached to give David a chance to fight at the Convention, I certainly had my reservations.


He had just lost his last fight for regional title but was known for being a slick if not outstanding boxer. His record was average at best. However, after a bit of homework and investigation I instructed a hesitant Olaf Schroeder to add David to the bill.

David Rajuili had a horrendous upbringing in the poverty areas in South Africa. He was abused as a child, thrown out of his own house as a teenager, roamed the streets, took drugs, became an addict and would certainly have died as another who-cares statistic had it not been for boxing.

David found a gym, and soon a sponsor, and decided that it was either a commitment to boxing and change, or a predictable drug death statistic that no-one would give a dime about.

I believed that David deserved a chance. He deserved the chance to show where he had come from and where he is today. That with resolve, courage, dedication and a willingness to do better, the horrendous life that had been dealt to David in his youth, could be changed for the better.

  WBF Champion David Rajuili

Winning and losing in my opinion were secondary at this point, the simple fact that David had overcome those demons had already made him a better person and champion in the eyes of many. I walked into the changing room after the fight to congratulate David, only to find him crying inconsolably from the delight of having won his first ever boxing title.

To have won it in a foreign country, and to have won it in at the WBF Convention in front of so many WBF officials, David’s emotions were understandably uncontrollable. When he then told Olaf with a choked voice “This is the best day in my life” I knew I had made the right decision.

I later overheard Olaf telling this incident to my Vice President Marcel and remarking “If this is all we ever achieve with the WBF, then everything was worth our time and efforts” and it made me proud of my WBF team.

It doesn’t matter if David never wins another title – he has already conquered his demons and climbed to the peak of the mountain. He has not only proved to others, but to himself just what boxing can do to change one’s life. David is not the best boxer in the world, but he is an inspiration. His story needs to be put out there to the youth of today who believe that drugs are the answer. David’s success story will tell otherwise.

David Rajuili is now a champion in the ring, but his fight in his personal life makes him a champion out of the ring as well today. David – the WBF is proud of you, and I would hope that South Africa is proud of you too. All people life deserve a chance – David got his in Slovenia and took it with both hands.

David Rajuili, We salute you!

Until next time, keep boxing.

Howard Goldberg

PRESIDENT: World Boxing Federation


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