sport

Former WBC chief Sulaiman dies

Former World Boxing Council president Jose Sulaiman has died following a long illness at the age of 82.

The Mexican had been in intensive care at the University of California Hospital in Los Angeles since undergoing heart bypass surgery last October.

The son of a Syrian mother and a Lebanese father, Sulaiman boxed as an amateur before switching to a career as a referee, trainer and boxing promoter.

He took over the presidency of the governing body in December 1975, was voted into boxing's Hall of Fame in 2006 and in November of last year was named 'President For Life' by the WBC at its convention in Bangkok.

In a statement, the WBC said: "We deeply regret to inform the passing away of our dearest president Don Jose Sulaiman, may he rest in peace.

"Jose will be remembered as a man of integrity, honorability and pure heart. Inspired by his heroes, believed in unbreakable values and principles and lived a life to the fullest.

"Many call him the father of boxing; he certainly treated all fighters as his sons and daughters, he suffered from their problems and worked every single day of his life to try to make boxing better and safer."

Sulaiman's son Mauricio, who joined the WBC as public relations director in 1992, is widely expected to succeed his father as president.