World Boxing Council President JOSE SULAIMAN died in L.A. at the age of 82 "from complications following heart surgery," according to Ron Lewis of the LONDON TIMES. The Mexican "was in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-reigning president in any sport," having been voted into the top job at the WBC in Dec. '75, the same weekend that JOHN H. STRACEY won the world welterweight title. He "pushed through many medical improvements in the sport," including reducing championship bouts from 15 to 12 rounds. However, he was heavily criticized for "favouring certain boxers and promoters," notably DON KING, which affected the organization’s credibility. Sulaiman’s son, MAURICIO, who is exec director of the WBC, "looks most likely to take over as the governing body’s president." British Boxing Board of Control and WBC VP CHARLES GILES said that "he believes Mauricio is likely to be elected" (LONDON TIMES, 1/17).
People and Pop Culture
ESPN tapped CHARLY CLASSEN to lead the company's operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Classen was promoted to VP & General Manager of the division, replacing ROSS HAIR, who told employees he is stepping down from the position following a restructuring that saw ESPN close down its European channel. Hair is leaving at the end of the month. In his new role, Classen will oversee ESPN's online, mobile and broadband, including ESPNCricInfo and ESPNFC (John Ourand, SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL). ... Spanish third division side Real Oviedo announced on its website that it hired Mexican JOAQUÍN DEL OLMO as sporting director. Real Oviedo is owned by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim's global conglomerate, Grupo Carso (LA AFICION, 1/18). ... La Liga side Real Betis on Sunday sacked coach JUAN CARLOS GARRIDO after the club lost to Real Madrid 5-0 on Saturday. Garrido was "hired in December" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 1/19). ... RON DENNIS has returned to the role of group CEO of McLaren and, "in an apparent threat" to the position of MARTIN WHITMARSH as team principal, has vowed "there will be changes." Following "long-running speculation that Dennis might return to a more hands-on role with the F1 team," McLaren announced that the 66-year-old had been reappointed to the CEO role he held between '82 and '12 before becoming chairman of the group in '13 (SKY SPORTS, 1/17). ... Cambodian Amateur Boxing Federation President TEM MOEUN was re-elected on Wednesday (PHNOM PENH POST, 1/16). ... MITSURU MURAI "is set to be approved as the J. League’s next chairman on Jan. 31." Murai, who will be the league’s fifth chairman, will succeed its outgoing leader, 65-year-old KAZUMI OHIGASHI, "who engineered both the addition of the J3 and the two-stage format" (KYODO, 1/17).
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Argentine first division side Boca Juniors President DANIEL ANGELICI watched Saturday's Copa de Oro friendly match against rival River Plate while sitting with River President RODOLFO D'ONOFRIO. The River president "said during the week that he would invite Angelici to watch the game with him and they sat together in the same box." D'Onofrio: "It has to be made clear that we are opponents, not enemies, that this is not a war, it is a game" (OLE, 1/19). ... Spanish second division side Deportivo de La Coruña President AUGUSTO CÉSAR LENDOIRO, who "announced that he was stepping down in December," on Sunday watched his "team's last game as a Deportivo exec." Lendoiro received "a thank-you plaque from fans at halftime" (MARCA, 1/19). ... The Int'l Cycling Union has appointed composites engineer and sports scientist DIMITRIS KATSANIS as consultant to the UCI Equipment Commission (UCI). ... Italy's ALESSANDRO BALLAN, the world road race champion in '08, "has been handed a two-year doping ban by Italy's Olympic Committee" (AAP, 1/18).
Sydney Morning Herald's DOMINIC BOSSI: "Always love watching Wawrinka play. He's all class."
SI's GRANT WAHL: "Trying to figure out why the USMNT agreed to play a game in Ukraine in a few weeks."
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