World Boxing Council
Formation1963; 61 years ago (1963)
TypeNon-profit institution
PurposeBoxing sanctioning organization
HeadquartersMexico City, Mexico
Region served
Mauricio Sulaimán
Main organ
General Assembly

The World Boxing Council (WBC) is an international professional boxing organization. It is among the four major organizations which sanction professional boxing bouts, alongside the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO).

Many historically high-profile bouts have been sanctioned by the organization with various notable fighters having been recognised as WBC world champions. All four organizations recognise the legitimacy of each other and each have interwoven histories dating back several decades.


The WBC was initially established by 11 countries: the United States, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, the Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. Representatives met in Mexico City on 14 February 1963, upon invitation of Adolfo López Mateos, then President of Mexico, to form an international organization to unify all commissions of the world to control the expansion of boxing.[1]

The groups that historically had recognized several boxers as champions included the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC), the National Boxing Association (NBA) of the United States, the European Boxing Union (EBU) and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC); but for the most part, these groups lacked the all-encompassing 'international' status they claimed.[citation needed]

Today, it has 161 member countries. The current WBC President is Mauricio Sulaimán. Former Presidents include Luis Spota and Ramon G. Velázquez of Mexico, Justiniano N. Montano Jr. of the Philippines and José Sulaimán of Mexico from 1975 until his death in 2014.[2]

In response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Council blocked championship fights involving Russian and Belarusian boxers.[3]


The WBC's green championship belt portrays the flags of all of the 161 member countries of the organization. All WBC world title belts look identical regardless of weight class; however, there are minor variations on the design for secondary and regionally themed titles within the same weight class.[4]

The WBC has nine regional governing bodies affiliated with it, such as the North American Boxing Federation, the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation, the European Boxing Union, and the African Boxing Union.[5]

Although rivals, the WBC's relationship with other sanctioning bodies has improved over time and there have even been talks of unification with the WBA. Unification bouts between WBC and other organizations' champions are becoming more common in recent years. Throughout its history, the WBC has allowed some of its organization's champions to fight unification fights with champions of other organizations, although there were times it stepped in to prevent such fights. For many years, it also prevented its champions from holding the WBO belt. When a WBO-recognized champion wished to fight for a WBC championship, he had to abandon his WBO title first, without any special considerations. This, however, is no longer the case.

In 1983, following the death of Kim Duk-koo from injuries sustained in a 14-round fight against Ray Mancini, the WBC took the unprecedented step of reducing the distance of its world championship bouts, from 15 rounds to 12—a move other organizations soon followed (for boxers' safety).[6]

Among those to have been recognized by the WBC as world champions are the undefeated and undisputed champion Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr., Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr., Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Julio César Chávez, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, Salvador Sánchez, Héctor Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzón, Rodrigo Valdez, Roberto Durán, Juan Laporte, Félix Trinidad, Edwin Rosario, Bernard Hopkins, Alexis Argüello, Nigel Benn, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Érik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Álvarez, Tony Bellew, Mairis Briedis and Grigory Drozd.

At its discretion, the WBC may designate and recognize, upon a two-thirds majority vote of its Board of Governors, one or more emeritus world champions in each weight class. Such a recognition is for life and is only bestowed upon present or past WBC world champions. The following boxers have earned the "Emeritus Championship" appellation throughout their careers: Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Roy Jones Jr., Bernard Hopkins (Honorary Champion), Mikkel Kessler, Sergio Martínez, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Kostya Tszyu, Manny Pacquiao, Danny García, Érik Morales, Toshiaki Nishioka, Vic Darchinyan, Édgar Sosa and Tony Bellew. This allows the fighters, should they return to competition, to take part in a title bout in the division they have been crowned emeritus champion. During the WBC's 51st Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, Floyd Mayweather Jr. was named "Supreme Champion", a designation that nobody before him has ever achieved.[7]

The WBC bolstered the legitimacy of women's boxing by recognizing fighters such as Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker as contenders for female world titles in 16 weight divisions. The first WBC World Female Champion (on 30 May 2005) was the super bantamweight Jackie Nava from Mexico. With her former-champion father at ringside, Laila Ali won the super middleweight title on 11 June 2005.

Silver Championship

In 2010, the WBC created a "Silver Championship", intended as a replacement for interim titles.[8] Justin Savi was the first boxer to win a Silver title after defeating Cyril Thomas on 16 April 2010. Unlike its interim predecessor, a boxer holding the Silver title cannot automatically inherit a full world title vacated by the champion. The WBC continues to recognize interim and Silver Champions, as well as interim Silver Champions.[9] A year later, the WBC introduced Silver versions to its International titles.[10] As of 2020, there are Silver titles of the female world title, Youth World title, USNBC title, Latino title and also FECARBOX title.

Diamond Championship

In September 2009, the WBC created its new "Diamond Championship" belt. This belt was created as an honorary championship exclusively to award the winner of a historic fight between two high-profile and elite boxers.[11] The inaugural Diamond belt was awarded on 14 November 2009 to Manny Pacquiao, who won his 7th world title (in seven different divisions) via a 12th-round technical knockout (TKO) over Miguel Cotto at welterweight in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. Other holders of this title have included Mairis Briedis (cruiserweight), Bernard Hopkins (light heavyweight), Callum Smith (super middleweight), Sergio Martínez and Canelo Álvarez (middleweight), Floyd Mayweather Jr. (super welterweight), Errol Spence Jr. (welterweight), Regis Prograis and Josh Taylor (super lightweight), Nonito Donaire (super bantamweight and bantamweight), Léo Santa Cruz (featherweight), Jean Pascal and Sergey Kovalev (light heavyweight), Mikey Garcia (welterweight and super lightweight), Jorge Linares (lightweight), Alexander Povetkin (heavyweight), and Román González (super flyweight). Female Diamond champions have included Claressa Shields (middleweight), Amanda Serrano (super bantamweight), Ana María Torres (bantamweight), Raja Amasheh (super flyweight), Ava Knight and Jessica Chávez (flyweight). Although this title can be defended, it is not a mandatory requirement. The title can also be vacated in the case of a fighter's long-term absence or retirement from boxing.

Franchise Championship

In 2019, the WBC Franchise Championship was introduced as an honorary title awarded to dominant champions that have represented the WBC and is a special designation and status which the WBC may honor to a current WBC World Champion, who is also an elite boxer, and who remains a top performer in the sport. Boxers who has been given the honorary title, must vacate their WBC world title in that division as the honorary title is transferable.[12] Boxers who have been named WBC Franchise Champion include: Canelo Alvarez (middleweight; 2019–2020),[13] Vasiliy Lomachenko (lightweight; 2019–2020),[14] Teófimo López (lightweight; 2020–2021),[15] Juan Francisco Estrada (super flyweight; since 2021), and George Kambosos Jr. (lightweight; 2021–2022).[16]

Eternal Championship

The WBC Eternal Championship is an honorary title awarded to dominant champions that have never lost a world title and retired undefeated while having a solid number of successful title defenses. Jiselle Salandy was awarded the Eternal title as she defended the WBC female super welterweight title five times before her death on 4 January 2009. On 12 December 2016, Vitali Klitschko was recognized as "Eternal Champion", as he had 10 successful WBC heavyweight title defenses during his career before his retirement in 2013 and was never knocked down throughout his career either.

Commemorative Belts

The WBC also awards commemorative belts to certain boxers as trophies for winning historic fights or exhibition matches.[17][18][19] The following are the recipients of the commemorative belts:

Trans athletes

In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph in 2022, WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman said that the WBC would ban transgender fighters from competing against cisgender fighters "so the dangers of a man fighting a woman will never happen", and would instead introduce a separate trans category of competition wherein athletes would be divided by their gender assigned at birth. Sulaiman called for current fighters who may be trans to come forward and register accordingly.[37][38]


In early 1998, Roy Jones Jr. announced that he was relinquishing his WBC light heavyweight title. In response, the WBC ordered a bout between Graciano Rocchigiani from Germany and the former champion Michael Nunn to fill the vacancy, sanctioning it as a world championship match. On 21 March 1998, Rocchigiani won the fight and a WBC belt; in the subsequent WBC rankings, he was listed as "Light Heavyweight World Champion".

Jones, however, had a change of heart and asked if the WBC would reinstate him as the champion. In a move that violated nearly a dozen of its own regulations, the WBC granted the reinstatement.[39] Rocchigiani received a letter from the WBC advising that the publication of his name as champion was a typographical error and he had never been the official title holder.[39]

Rocchigiani immediately filed a lawsuit against the WBC in a U.S. federal court, claiming that the organization's actions were both contrary to their own rules and injurious to his earning potential (due to diminished professional stature). On 7 May 2003, the judge ruled in Rocchigiani's favor, awarding him $31 million (U.S.) in damages and reinstating him as a former WBC champion (Rocchigiani had lost a bout since his WBC title match).[40]

The following day, the WBC sought protection by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (i.e., corporate debt restructuring) in Puerto Rico. The organization spent the next 13 months trying to negotiate a 6-figure settlement with Rocchigiani, but the fighter at first rejected the proposal.[41]

On 11 June 2004, the WBC announced it would enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation (i.e., business closing and total asset sell-off) proceedings, effectively threatening its existence. This action prompted some in the boxing community to plead with Rocchigiani to settle the dispute, which he did in mid-July 2004.[39]

Don King

Many in the boxing community have accused the WBC of bending its rules to suit the powerful boxing promoter Don King. The journalist Jack Newfield wrote, "...[WBC President José Sulaimán] became more King's junior partner than his independent regulator".[42] Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoes that comment: "Sulaimán...became little more than an errand boy for Don King".[43] Heller quotes British promoter Mickey Duff as saying, "My complaint is that José Sulaimán is not happy his friend Don King is the biggest promoter in boxing. Sulaimán will only be happy when Don King is the only promoter in boxing."[43]

Newfield and Heller take issue with the following actions of the WBC:

Current WBC world title holders

As of 23 March 2024


Weight class Champion Reign began Days
Strawweight (105 lbs) Yudai Shigeoka 7 October 2023 168
Light flyweight (108 lbs) Kenshiro Teraji 19 March 2022 735
Flyweight (112 lbs) Julio César Martinez 20 December 2019 1555
McWilliams Arroyo (interim) 27 February 2021 1120
Super flyweight (115 lbs) Juan Francisco Estrada 3 December 2022 476
Bantamweight (118 lbs) Junto Nakatani 24 February 2024 28
Super bantamweight (122 lbs) Naoya Inoue 25 July 2023 242
Featherweight (126 lbs) Rey Vargas 9 July 2022 623
Brandon Figueroa (interim) 4 March 2023 385
Super featherweight (130 lbs) O'Shaquie Foster 11 February 2023 406
Lightweight (135 lbs) Shakur Stevenson 16 November 2023 128
Super lightweight (140 lbs) Devin Haney 9 December 2023 105
Welterweight (147 lbs) Terence Crawford 29 July 2023 238
Mario Barrios (interim) 30 September 2023 175
Super welterweight (154 lbs) Vacant
Middleweight (160 lbs) Jermall Charlo 26 June 2019 1732
Carlos Adames (interim) 8 October 2022 532
Super middleweight (168 lbs) Canelo Álvarez 19 December 2020 1190
David Benavidez (interim) 21 May 2022 672
Light heavyweight (175 lbs) Artur Beterbiev 18 October 2019 1618
Cruiserweight (190 lbs) Noel Gevor 4 November 2023 140
Bridgerweight (224 lbs) Łukasz Różański 22 April 2023 336
Heavyweight (225+ lbs) Tyson Fury 22 February 2020 1491


Weight class Champion Reign began Days
Atomweight (102 lbs) Fabiana Bytyqi 22 September 2018 2009
Strawweight (105 lbs) Seniesa Estrada 25 March 2023 364
Sarah Bormann (interim) 13 May 2023 315
Light flyweight (108 lbs) Jessica Nery Plata 13 January 2022 435
Flyweight (112 lbs) Marlen Esparza 19 June 2021 1008
Super flyweight (115 lbs) Asley Gonzalez 1 October 2022 539
Adelaida Ruiz (interim) 8 September 2022 562
Bantamweight (118 lbs) Dina Thorslund 24 Februar 2024 1239
Super bantamweight (122 lbs) Yamileth Mercado 16 November 2019 1589
Featherweight (126 lbs) Skye Nicolson 4 December 2023 2
Super featherweight (130 lbs) Alycia Baumgardner 13 November 2021 861
Lightweight (135 lbs) Katie Taylor 1 June 2019 1757
Mikaela Mayer (interim) 15 April 2023 343
Super lightweight (140 lbs) Katie Taylor 25 November 2023 119
Welterweight (147 lbs) Jessica McCaskill 15 August 2020 1316
Super welterweight (154 lbs) Natasha Jonas 3 September 2022 567
Middleweight (160 lbs) Claressa Shields 17 November 2018 1953
Super middleweight (168 lbs) Savannah Marshall 1 July 2023 266
Heavyweight (168+ lbs) Hanna Gabriels 17 April 2021 1071

Affiliated organizations

See also


  1. ^ Curtis, Tyler (16 February 2010). "47 Years of Rotten Boxing Decisions and the WBC Is Still Going Strong". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  2. ^ Rafael, Dan (12 February 2014). "WBC taps Mauricio Sulaiman as prez". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  3. ^ "Alan Hubbard: How Russian champion Bivol sent shockwaves down Mexico way". 11 May 2022.
  4. ^ Walker, David (13 September 2010). "WBC belt history". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  5. ^ Eastham, Cliff (19 March 2010). "Alphabet Soup: Getting Lost In The Boxing Organizations". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  6. ^ Phillips, Angus (10 December 1982). "WBC Limits Title Fights to 12 Rounds". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Floyd Mayweather Is Named "Supreme Champion"". 12 November 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  8. ^ "WBC May Replace Interim-Titles with 'Silver Titles'". 25 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Concepcion-Narvaez will meet for interim WBC silver belt in Panama". Boxing News.
  10. ^ "Allotey wins WBC International Silver belt". Boxing News.
  11. ^ "WBC Diamond Belt Presentation". Fightnews. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  12. ^ Boxingscene Staff (2 April 2021). "Sulaiman Stands Firm on Creating "Franchise" Title, Explains The Concept". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  13. ^ Rafael, Dan (27 June 2019). "Canelo loses a title, now WBC 'franchise champ'". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  14. ^ Rafael, Dan (24 October 2019). "WBC gives plans for titlists, names Vasiliy Lomachenko 'franchise champ'". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  15. ^ Esco, Wil (5 February 2021). "Teofimo Lopez shows off two WBC title belts, says Devin Haney 'got played'". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  16. ^ Donovan, Jake (26 March 2021). "Juan Francisco Estrada Named WBC "Franchise" Champ, Four-Man "SuperFly" Tournament Called". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  17. ^ "The Commemorative Belts". 20 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Round 12: The WBC Commemorative Belts". 27 April 2021.
  19. ^ "The World Boxing Council Commemorative Belts". 4 May 2023.
  20. ^ "Mayweather-Canelo winner will get WBC 24K Gold World Championship strap ⋆ Boxing News 24". Boxing News 24. July 14, 2013.
  21. ^ Hanstock, Bill (April 21, 2015). "Here is the $1MM belt for Pacquiao vs. Mayweather".
  22. ^ "Joe Smith and Bernard Hopkins both make weight ⋆ Boxing News 24". Boxing News 24. December 16, 2016.
  23. ^ Raimondi, Marc (August 24, 2017). "WBC president explains origin of over-the-top, 'priceless' Money Belt for Mayweather vs. McGregor". MMA Fighting.
  24. ^ "WBC announces new Frontline Battle Belt for Tyson-Jones fight | DAZN News Global". DAZN. 26 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Austin's "Health Care Hero" masterpiece is the focal point of Spence Jr Vs Garcia WBC Belt". 2 December 2020.
  26. ^ "Boxing News: WBC unveils Freedom belt » September 4, 2021". June 10, 2021.
  27. ^ "The WBC Freedom Belt". 10 June 2021.
  28. ^ "Amir Khan To Stage Special Dubai Card on October 16, With Special WBC Crypto Title". 13 September 2021.
  29. ^ "The Union Belt". 17 February 2022.
  30. ^ wbcboxing (17 June 2022). "In 2021, the WBC created a special belt: "The Freedom Belt" to commemorate Juneteenth Day, which emacipated slavery in the State of Texas. [...]". Instagram. Retrieved 6 September 2023.
  31. ^ "WBC unveil their Celtic – Boricua Belt for the winner of Katie Taylor vs Amanda Serrano". 29 April 2022.
  32. ^ "WBC will make world championship belt in honor of Queen Elizabeth II". 6 October 2022.
  33. ^ "WBC reveal special belt up for grabs to winner of Jake Paul vs Tommy Fury fight". 26 February 2023.
  34. ^ "Mayweather to Receive a WBC Juneteenth-Themed Title for Gotti Fight". 15 May 2023.
  35. ^ "Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou Winner Gets This Unique WBC Championship Belt". 7 September 2023.
  36. ^ "Buakaw Vs. Pacquiao Boxing Fight for WBC Legend Belt". Beyond Kickboxing - The Home of Kickboxing. Retrieved 2023-09-06.
  37. ^ Davies, Gareth (29 December 2022). "Exclusive: Boxing to introduce new transgender category". The Telegraph.
  38. ^ Powell, Jon (30 December 2022). "The World Boxing Council plans to create transgender category".
  39. ^ a b c " - Bankruptcy could spell doom for WBC". Retrieved 2021-11-23.
  40. ^ ""Rocky" geht im letzten Kampf die Puste aus". Der Spiegel. 11 May 2003. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  41. ^ Associated Press (14 June 2004). "WBC avoiding $31 million owed to fighter". Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  42. ^ a b c d e Newfield, Jack (1995). Only In America. New York, New York: William & Morrow Co. p. 141. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
  43. ^ a b c Heller, Peter (1988). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. New York, New York: New American Library. p. 143. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
  44. ^ Sugar, Bert (October 1990). "In This Corner". Boxing Illustrated. 32 (8): 4.
  45. ^ Heaney, John (December 1992). "The Senate Investigation: Much Ado About Nothing". Boxing Illustrated. 35 (10): 38.
  46. ^ Nigel Benn vs. Chris Eubank
  47. ^ "SecondsOut Boxing News - UK Boxing News - Lewis v Tyson fallout could destroy WBC". Archived from the original on 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2017-10-19.
  48. ^ Beaten To The Draw

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