Thailand is ready to welcome hundreds of participants who will take part in the World Boxing Council's annual meeting, which begins today at Bangkok's Centara Grand Hotel.
About 500 people in boxing from more than 150 countries will attend the 51st WBC World Convention which ends on Sunday.
Among the guests are the organisation's champions including heavyweight king Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine and minimumweight title-holder Xiong Zhao Zhong of China, and past champions such as Ricky Hatton, Jeff Fenech and Humberto Gonzalez.
Promoters Don King and Gary Shaw will also attend the convention, one of the biggest boxing meetings in Thailand for years.
WBC president Jose Sulaiman cannot join the event because he is recovering from heart surgery. It is the first time the president will be absent since 1975.
It is the sixth time that Thailand hosts the WBC meeting after it staged the convention in Bangkok (1985 and 1991), Chiang Mai (1995), Pattaya (2001) and Phuket (2004).
Host Kovid Bhakdibhumi, a WBC vice-president, said yesterday that Thailand was ready to welcome the guests to such an important event and dismissed fears that the event could be affected by the ongoing political problems in the country.
"It is a great honour for Thailand to host the event," he said. "We are ready to welcome all the guests. I'm sure that they will feel at home and everybody will be happy. Although there are political problems in Thailand, the situation is not serious and the convention has nothing to do with politics."
Several important issues will be discussed including safety, ratings and mandatory title defences.
A World Cup tournament was planned to be held during the meeting before it was cancelled.
Tomorrow and Wednesday, there will be meetings on Muay Thai, which has become popular in several countries including Mexico and Japan.
Thailand's former WBC champion Pongsaklek Kratingdaenggym will give a speech on behalf of boxers.
At yesterday's press conference, Klitschko said he was happy to be back in Thailand.
"I was here over 20 years ago as amateur," he said.
"Boxing has united the people all over the world and this convention is an opportunity for us to speak together and share a vision about the future of the WBC."
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