Drugs in boxing today in the WBC demand a clarification. I was “baptized” with a dramatic drug problem back in 1971, during my first representation of the WBC when I was still the Secretary General. I went out of Mexico to a fight when one of the corners used a yellow liquid for their boxer, which was confiscated. It was a big dose of amphetamines. Even when there were no anti-doping rules at the time, there was no doubt that it was an intentional act as a stimulant.
It became a fight among nations that led me to get deep in this matter, with the WBC being one of the very first international sports organizations to adopt anti-doping rules back in 1975, as one of my very first actions in my first election as president.
My first action was to appoint a WBC medical board with Dr. Adrian Whiteson as chairman and Dr. Francisco Massa as vice-chairman – unforgettable friends and hard-working and committed medical leaders – who worked for the implementation of all kinds of medical rules that immediately changed the sport from being a legal act of savages to the safety that we have today, with the intervention of newer generations and very importantly with the leadership of Dr. Donald Catlin, of UCLA at the time, for the implementation of antidoping rules, that started being in effect since back in 1975. It was much before FIFA, NFL, and others.
The WBC did not, do not, and I believe that we will not adhere to any other drug system of any other organization, as boxing is a unique and different sport. Amateur athletes devote not only to win at Olympic Games, but also to break records and win medals, regardless off weight, height or color, for the pride and honor of nations who keep them well in life and therefore, may take or accept whatever will make them win and probably do whatever might be necessary. Boxing is a sport that always has two rivals – the weight being the first, and a challenger the second.
The WBC started with a specific objective and policy. First, the abolition of stimulants that have a direct mental influence on a boxer that may give them an edge over their rivals, while also hurting themselves. Second, for the sake of safety and the protection of the boxers, to forbid any drug, including pharmaceuticals, that might create a disease in the short or long terms.
The time of getting urine samples for the antidoping tests is absolutely none other than in the dressing rooms before going into the ring, or after the fights, which is the routine and stated in the rules. The WBC only wants to test how a fighter is at the time of his performance and no other time, unless it is a special circumstance. They are professionals and sign for one fight at a time, every number of months. The WBC requests WADA approved testing systems, but only of the specific substances that are prohibited in the rules and regulations of the WBC.
The tests are done by the local boxing commissions, most with which we have excellent relations and amicable agreements of mutual cooperation. We are, and have been, testing against drugs in boxing since 1975 and we have had only 15 positives in 37 years and about 1,600 fights. We have heard of boxers going into the toilet and have someone else urinate and other alleged actions, but we have never been able to prove it.
I have known several boxers who are said to be addicts, but the WBC has always requested the tests included in our regulations, without exception, after WBC fights, with no more than 2% of cases when commissions do not report the tests. It is also important to prove the intention, because unwilling matters happen, like Erik Morales having a positive test of a low dose of clenbuterol, which in Mexico is natural. That is what farmers give to cattle for their fattening, or someone with a low dose of marijuana, who could have been in a room and inhaled the smoke of others.
Boxing is a clean sport, as our data proves. Boxers are people coming from humble beds, who are proud and lovers of the only opportunity that they receive in boxing to live a decent and a life with dignity. Boxing is a great sport and the people all around the world working to supervise boxing and work for the safety of the sport are just as great.