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World Boxing Federation People: Ernst Salzgeber
POSTED ON JULY 16, 2017.
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FEATURE   Photo: Renowned Referee, Judge, Supervisor and World Boxing Federation (WBF) Executive Committee Vice Chairman Ernst Salzgeber.

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 the WBF People feature-series, we try to shed some light on the men and women who makes the World Boxing Federation what it is. This time we take a look at WBF Executive Committee Vice Chairman Ernst Salzgeber from Austria.


Besides operating across Europe as a top-class referee and judge, something he has done through several decades, Ernst Salzgeber is a very valued member of the World Boxing Federation (WBF) Directory where he occupies the position of Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Salzgeber was born in March of 1952 in Lillienfeld, Lower Austria, approximately 100 kilometers south-west of Vienna. Twin brother to a girl who died at birth, he grew up as an only child in Hohenberg, and had what he calls a truly harmonic childhood.

At the age of fourteen, he moved to Vienna to attend technical college and after completing his education he was employed by Austrian Telekom where he worked as a manager until retiring in 2001, not yet fifty years old.

Salzgeber was bitten by the boxing bug when his uncle, a big boxing enthusiast, started taking him to the big events headlined by Austrian hero Hans Orsolics (AKA Johann Orsolics), who held European titles at Light Welterweight and Welterweight between 1967 and 1970.

While he never had any bouts himself, Salzgeber enjoyed boxing training, and did so most consistently between 1970 and 1972 at the Am Mittersteig Athletic Center in Vienna. As was the case with so many in those days, his big idol was Muhammad Ali, whom he had the honor of meeting years later.

Since he had no real desire to be an active boxer, Salzgeber found another way to be involved in the sport he loved, as he eventually decided on becoming a referee and judge. Taken under the wing of very accomplished referee, and former professional boxer, Kid Rado, he was in good hands.

In 1983 I started my education as a referee under my teacher, the late EBU and WBC referee Kid Rado”, says Salzgeber, who was married for seven years but is now divorced and living with his German girlfriend Martina.

For eight months he taught me once every week at the Athletic Center, and I learned a lot from him, a referee with so much experience.”

A true professional, always thriving to be even better, Salzgeber hasn’t allowed himself to become complacent over the years:

During my career I have taken every opportunity to learn more by attending seminars offered by various organizations, including FVA (the Austrian national federation), European Boxing Union, WBC, WBA, IBF and of course WBF.”

As time has passed, Salzgeber has worked numerous championship fights for different organizations, as Referee, Judge or Supervisor. In 1993 he was asked to join the World Boxing Federation, at the time headed by American Ron Scalf, and he immediately jumped at the chance.

He mentions German hero Rene Weller, along with World Champions Nikolay Valuev, Regina Halmich and the Klitschko brothers when asked to name some of the prominent names he has either shared a ring with as referee, or judged.

But the list is far more extensive, and also includes the likes of former or current world champions Marco Huck, Henry Akinwande, Alexander Povetkin, Myriam Lamare, Jan Zaveck, Billy Joe Saunders, Herbie Hide, Yoan Pablo Hernandez, Cecilia Braekhus and Arthur Abraham, to mention only a few.

As the World Boxing Federation, for various reasons, went through a period of inactivity between 2004 and 2009, Salzgeber continued to build on his officiating resume. When the WBF was restructured in 2009, with Howard Goldberg as President, Salzgeber was almost immediately back on board in an administrative role.

I am with the World Boxing Federation with all my heart and soul”, he says. “Competence and friendship amongst us is second to none, and a word is a word.”

I would like to see more respect between all people in boxing, and we have that within the WBF. Especially boxers should be treated with respect, not as commodities, and that is a priority for me, and the World Boxing Federation.”

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