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World Boxing Federation People: Torben Seemann Hansen
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FEATURE   Photo: World Boxing Federation Vice President & Executive Commitee Chairman Torben Seeman Hansen (on the left) with WBF President Howard Holdberg.

As is the case with any organization, effective and professional team-work behind the scenes is necessary to make the World Boxing Federation (WBF) run as smoothly as possible. Thankfully, the WBF has been able to attract a line-up of very astute boxing personalities to make sure of this.

Most people will agree that boxing should mainly be about the boxers. They deserve the spotlight and the accolades more than anyone, but it is still a fact that the sport needs qualified and capable people working behind the scenes to make things happen.

In this WBF People feature-series, we try to shed some light on the men and women who makes the World Boxing Federation what it is. WBF Vice President and Executive Committee Chairman Torben Seemann Hansen is the subject of the inaugural edition.


Denmark’s Torben Seemann Hansen was born in 1945 in Copenhagen. A self-proclaimed “sports nerd”, he was an active Basketball and Handball player at a high domestic level, first division and third division respectively, and used boxing training to optimize his fitness.

But, while he often trained alongside the fighting-men at Akademisk Boxingclub (ABC) and Hvidovre Boxingclub, he never had an official bout himself. Instead he would quite early in his life start a career in boxing administration and officiating, and is now fast approaching his fiftieth anniversary in the sport.

My father was an authorized translator, and often did work in that capacity for the Danish Professional Boxing Federation”, Hansen says. “They always gave him a ticket to the shows, which he then passed on to me.”

I made a point of thanking the DPBF board-members for the ticket, and when I started working in the meatpacking district in Copenhagen, where several of the board-members also worked, I often ran into them and we chatted about boxing.”

They knew I liked the sport, and trained boxing, so at one point I was asked to join the DPBF board. I liked that idea, and at the general assembly in 1970 I was elected to the DPBF board.”

That same year, Torben married his girlfriend Ann, and they had a son, Michael, who would eventually follow in his fathers footsteps as President of the Danish Professional Boxing Federation. But before Torben held that position, between 1984 and 1987, he paid his dues.

First he served as a board-member for five years, and then General Secretary for eight years. When he stepped down as president, he became Denmark´s representative in the European Boxing Union (EBU) between 1987 and 2000.

In 2007 he returned in an official role with the DPBF as a member of the federations Law Committee, where he is still going strong on his tenth year.

Also an esteemed international judge and ringside official with close to 250 championship fights on his resume, Torben has been a steady fixture in Danish professional boxing since he first got his foot inside the door, even when he was not part of DPBF management.

In his professional career, Hansen has also been around the block a few times. While working full-time as a sales-consultant for Plumrose between 1966 and 1972, he also studied at the University of Copenhagen where he obtained a Masters degree in Nordic literature and language.

That led him to a five-year stint as a teacher, before taking on several positions within marketing, public relations and communication in well-renowned companies such as ØK Data, SAS and FLSmidth. He retired in 2008 after twenty-four years as Vice President of FLSmidth.

Hansen has no intentions of retiring from his duties in boxing, the sport he says has given him so many wonderful experiences over the years. He especially appreciates his “Heavyweight Memories”, having worked fights involving greats such as Mike Tyson, Frank Bruno, Evander Holyfield and Wladimir Klitschko.

But when asked to recall one of his funniest memories, he takes us back to a Sunday night at Bingley Hall in Staffordshire, England in February 1988. IBF Middleweight World Champion Frank Tate defended his title with a tenth round stoppage of Tony Sibson, and Torben Seeman Hansen was one of the judges.

The referee for the fight was American Frank Cappuccino, to me one of the great legends of refereeing. He was a very nice guy, but also very self-conscious”, explains Hansen.

The rest of us were getting a bit annoyed to hear him talk about all his qualities, so we had a cake made and persuaded ring-announcer Michael Buffer to present it to Frank in the ring, in celebration if his seventieth birthday.”

That didn’t sit too well with Mr. Cappuccino, who at the time must have been in his mid to late fifties.”

Before joining the World Boxing Federation in 2011, Hansen had plenty of experience working for various other sanctioning bodies. Between 1985 and 2000 he held various positions within the European Boxing Union (EBU), including being Vice President from 1998 to 2000.

In that same period he was also a member of the World Boxing Council (WBC) Board of Governors, before joining the World Boxing Association (WBA) and its European arm, the European Boxing Association (EBA), as Vice President.

At one point he was also a member of the International Boxing Organization (IBO) appeals committee, so it is safe to say that Hansen knows more than most about the mechanisms of a sanctioning body, and speaks from experience when he says:

I got tired of the bigger organizations manipulating ways, and their larger interest in the financial side than in the sporting side. That was the reason why I resigned from the European Boxing Union in 2000, and eventually the reason why I joined the World Boxing Federation.

I have known (WBF President) Howard (Goldberg) and others from the WBF through a number of years, and have a lot of respect for these people. And once I joined, I was not disappointed.”

The World Boxing Federation management is a group of people who loves the sport of boxing, and its a no-nonsense and effective management with an ambition to do things fair and transparent. To me, this is all very important.”

It is often said that you cant teach and old dog new tricks. While Torben is no spring-chicken, we will refrain from calling him old at only seventy-one years of age. In fact, he only recently stopped playing Badminton and switched to Bowling, because, after all, “My knees are not what they used to be”.

And while anyone would be lucky to have Torben as a friend, it is certainly unfair to compare him to the animal referred to as “mans best friend”. So in this case the above saying is not fitting in any way with Mr. Hansen, who acknowledge the need for, and embrace, changes in boxing.

When you ask me about what has changed in a positive way in boxing the last twenty years, I think the most significant thing is safety. Serious injuries are more rare now, due to regular medical checks, anti-doping efforts and the reduction of rounds in championship fights from fifteen to twelve.”

In regards to the WBF, I expect continued positive developments which will separate us from other sanctioning bodies. For instance, we strive to keep expenses at a minimum for promoters of our championships, so smaller promoters also have a chance to do title fights.”

We do not create artificial titles such as “Silver”, “Diamond”, “Junior” or “Super” just to line our pockets. We have a small but effective organization with dedicated people, who prioritize sporting interests above business interests. And we make an effort to develop our sport in areas of the world which hasn’t previously had a tradition in professional boxing.”

As the World Boxing Federation continues to grow and attempt to separate itself in positive ways, it is hard to find a better, more qualified person to have on board than Torben Seemann Hansen. When that fiftieth anniversary comes along in a few years, he will hopefully still be a big part of the team.


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