Here is a short interview with our beloved, Juan Sanchez. He was a modest man, but if you read his answers carefully, you’ll see the stuff Champions are made of. He stands as an example of how someone can build and rebuild a life while serving as a guiding light to others.
Jill: Tell us about your journey to America.
Juan: I was born in Cuba the son of a lawyer. When Castro took over in 1959 I left Cuba for the U.S with my younger sister. My father, mother, and my other sister could not leave Cuba until 1961.
I attended the University of Havana, graduated with a PHD in accounting and became a Certified Public Accountant in 1954. I have also Master Degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Miami in Coral Gables.
I have known my wife since we were 7 and 9 years old respectively and have been married for 49 years.
Jill: You had to relocate to another country, and without your parents. What did you lose and what did you gain?
Juan: I lost my way of life in a country where everything was easy for me, but I gained the confidence to fight and be self sufficient.
Jill: Your background is in finance. How did you get started in boxing?
Juan: My relationship with boxing was strictly professional at the beginning. I was the partner in a multinational CPA firm that helped the WBC to obtain their non profit status with the USA Government.
I have always liked boxing. I used to attend boxing functions in Cuba as a boy. My father used to have 2 seats at the Sports Palace and I offered to be his chauffer anytime I had a chance!
Jill: What are you passionate about?
Juan: I am passionate about my family, relatives, friends and my professional career. I love boxing but it takes a back seat to my family.
Jill: If you could, what would you change?
Juan: I would not change anything. I don’t believe you can go back and change things in life. Everything happens for a reason and that is the way God wants it. In 2001 I lost my older daughter to cancer at the age of 38. This is the hardest punch that anybody can receive and yet, if God had come to me and told me when my wife was expecting her that he was going to enter into a contract with me, and allow me to have a daughter but that he will take her after 38 years, I would sign that contract without hesitation. Those were the greatest 38 years of my life.
Jill: Your hero?
Juan: My father. I don’t consider that there are heroes in sports. A hero is a person that is willing to give his life to save another.
Jill: What brings you the most pleasure?
Juan: My family and friends. I still get together with seven couples that were my classmates (both husbands and wives) in elementary school.
I am very proud to have been the first non WASP, Latin American person to become a partner in one of the biggest Certified Public Accounting firms in the world
Jill: Tell me about your life in relations to our sport?
Juan: I don’t live for boxing, but I treasure the friends that I have acquired during my 30 year association with the WBC, and especially with the Sulaiman family, During most of my time with the WBC I have been the Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer and supervised a great number of important fights.. As for the NABF, it’s an honor and privilege to work with the members of the NABF.
Jill: What about the decline in popularity of boxing in the US?
Juan: Boxing will make a come back in the US. At this moment is experiencing a bad period because of the greed of boxers and certain promoter, but the water always levels off.
Jill: How would you like to be remembered?
Juan: As an honest, loyal and good professional.