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World Boxing Federation People: Emmanuel Demanet
POSTED ON JULY 19, 2018.
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FEATURE   Photo: WBF Benelux Rep. and Executive Committee Member Emmanuel Demanet (right) pictured with former WBF World Champion Rachid Jkitou.

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 the star is Executive Committee Member and Benelux Representative Emmanuel Demanet.


53-year-old Demanet grew up in Oostkamp, Belgium, a short drive from Bruges (AKA Brugge), the city where he was born in April of 1965. His parents ran a restaurant, and with his father, grandfather, three uncles and a cousin all cooks, it would have been natural had a young Emmanuel decided to follow in their footsteps.

That´s not what happened, though, as he chose a completely different line of work. After High-school he got a job in private security, and stayed in that occupation for sixteen years, mainly as head security officer at a bank.

He put in extra hours working security at music festivals and for money transports, something he describes as a very risky way to earn a living due to the many gangs specializing in robbing money transports in Belgium in the late eighties and early nineties. Luckily, he was never robbed.

Later on, Demanet switched to a job as a correctional officer. “Before I had to keep them out, and now I have to keep them in”, he says with a laugh. To this day he is still working as a guard at the prison in Gent, and is also involved in the trade union representing his colleagues in four prisons in his area.

Like so many others in this world, Emmanuel became a boxing fan, at the age of twelve, due to the one and only Muhammad Ali. At sixteen he joined the Wimme Boxing Club, hoping that he could be a successful boxer himself. But...

After some time, and some hard sparring, I discovered that I was not champion material. And, since I hate losing, I decided that competition boxing was not meant for me.”

In his early twenties Demanet returned to Wimme B. C. and got involved as a trainer:

Achiel Wimme, the founder and trainer/manager of the club was a big inspiration and mentor for me. He looked like a character from an old fifties movie, and made Rocky´s trainer look like a “Pretty Boy”. But he had so much knowledge about boxing”.

Talks and lessons with (respected and accomplished Belgian trainer) Jef Van Driessche were also mind-opening, and I was always a fan of the Brendan Ingle school of boxing. But unfortunately I never had the honor of meeting Ingle in person.”

A few years into his tenure working with the amateurs, Demanet decided he would like to also try his luck at promoting and managing professional boxers. Faith would have it that former Belgian Light Heavyweight Champion Jose Seys (27-18-6 at the time) had plans to make a comeback after three years of inactivity.

So Demanet arranged a meeting with the veteran, who had lost a European title-challenge four years earlier in 1990, and made him his first signing. Seys had four build-up victories under the guidance of Demanet, before losing in a challenge for the Belgian Cruiserweight title to Dirk Wallyn in 1995.

The second boxer I signed was Freddy Demeaulenarre, who had the heart of a lion but cut in every fight and provided me with great experience as a cutman”, explains Demanet.

One of my favorite memories in boxing is Freddy fighting on the undercard of the Dariusz Michalczewski vs. Graciano Rocchigiani World Light Heavyweight title fight, on an open-air show at the Wilhelm-Koch stadium in Hamburg in 1996.”

During a twenty-two year run at Wimme B. C., Demanet took on every role under the sun at the club, besides working with the professionals, before deciding to leave due to personal reasons. But he was not done with boxing, at all:

A year after I left the club, I started my third run in boxing. This time as an official. I became a judge in Belgium, and at one point the Belgian Boxing Board asked me to be a member of the professional committee, of which I am now the president.”

Demanet is also President of the BeNeLux Boxing Union, and Vice President of the Flemish league (the Belgian Boxing Board is divided in three leagues, with Flemish being one of them), and he is still very much active as a judge.

I have had, and continue to have, so many good memories in boxing, from training amateurs to managing and promoting professionals, and now judging and supervising professional fights.”

At its best boxing is a wonderful sport, at its worst its a horrible, horrible thing. I have met many lovely, honest people, but also some who should be behind bars. Its a world filled with colorful characters, to say the least.”

A chance meeting with World Boxing Federation Executive director Olaf Schroeder in Belgium let to Demanet eventually joining the WBF as its BeNeLux representative, and later as a member of the Executive committee.

Demanet is passionate and engaging when it comes to the WBF, and boxing in general, and he is not uncritical. He has his opinions, and ideas on how he sees the current standing and future of the WBF, saying:

I would like to see the WBF take the lead on certain things, such as 3 minute rounds for womens fights, instead of them only boxing 2 minutes per round.”

The WBF was one of the trail-blazers in womens boxing, but then other organizations saw what they were missing out on and started taking over some great WBF champions. I would like to see our champions go for unification fights, instead of renouncing the WBF title to fight for other titles.”

But the problem is that many board members of various national federations are linked closely to the so-called big four organizations, and therefore block the smaller organizations”.

However, we have to keep up the good work, and hope for a big break with a big name. Getting major promoters on board, and big name boxers, helped the WBO get established, at first in Germany and the UK, and its been the same with the IBO, to a degree.”

I would like to be known as one of the people who helps the World Boxing Federation reach yet a higher level...”

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