|Purpose||Boxing sanctioning organization|
|Headquarters||Mexico City, Mexico|
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.
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.
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.
In response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Council blocked championship fights involving Russian and Belarusian boxers.
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.
The WBC has nine regional governing bodies affiliated with it, such as the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF), the EBU and the African Boxing Council (ABC).
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).
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. 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.
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.
In 2010, the WBC created a "Silver Championship", intended as a replacement for interim titles. 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. A year later, the WBC introduced Silver versions to its International titles. As of 2020, there are Silver titles of the female world title, Youth World title, USNBC title, Latino title and also FECARBOX title.
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. 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.
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. Boxers who have been named WBC Franchise Champion include: Canelo Alvarez (middleweight; 2019–2020), Vasiliy Lomachenko (lightweight; 2019–2020), Teófimo López (lightweight; 2020–2021), Juan Francisco Estrada (super flyweight; since 2021), and George Kambosos Jr. (lightweight; 2021–2022).
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.
The WBC also awards commemorative belts to certain boxers as trophies for winning historic fights or exhibition matches. The following are the recipients of the commemorative belts:
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. 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.
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).
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.
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.
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". Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoes that comment: "Sulaimán...became little more than an errand boy for Don King". 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."
Newfield and Heller take issue with the following actions of the WBC:
As of 3 August 2022
|Weight class||Champion||Reign began||Days|
|Strawweight (105 lbs)||Panya Pradabsri||27 November 2020||614|
|Light flyweight (108 lbs)||Kenshiro Teraji||19 March 2022||137|
|Flyweight (112 lbs)||Julio César Martinez||20 December 2019||957|
|McWilliams Arroyo (interim)||27 February 2021||522|
|Super flyweight (115 lbs)||Jesse Rodríguez||5 February 2022||179|
|Bantamweight (118 lbs)||Naoya Inoue||7 June 2022||57|
|Super bantamweight (122 lbs)||Stephen Fulton||27 November 2021||249|
|Featherweight (126 lbs)||Rey Vargas||9 July 2022||25|
|Super featherweight (130 lbs)||Shakur Stevenson||30 April 2022||95|
|Lightweight (135 lbs)||Devin Haney||22 April 2020||833|
|Super lightweight (140 lbs)||vacant|
|Welterweight (147 lbs)||Errol Spence Jr.||28 September 2019||1040|
|Super welterweight (154 lbs)||Jermell Charlo||21 December 2019||955|
|Middleweight (160 lbs)||Jermall Charlo||26 June 2019||1134|
|Super middleweight (168 lbs)||Canelo Álvarez||19 December 2020||592|
|David Benavidez (interim)||21 May 2022||74|
|Light heavyweight (175 lbs)||Artur Beterbiev||18 October 2019||1020|
|Cruiserweight (190 lbs)||Ilunga Makabu||31 January 2020||915|
|Bridgerweight (224 lbs)||Óscar Rivas||22 October 2021||285|
|Heavyweight (200+ lbs)||Tyson Fury||22 February 2020||893|
|Weight class||Champion||Reign began||Days|
|Atomweight (102 lbs)||Fabiana Bytyqi||22 September 2018||1411|
|Louisa Hawton (interim)||1 December 2019||976|
|Strawweight (105 lbs)||Tina Rupprecht||30 September 2018||1403|
|Light flyweight (108 lbs)||Yesenia Gómez||22 September 2018||1411|
|Kenia Enriquez (interim)||27 May 2017||1894|
|Flyweight (112 lbs)||Marlen Esparza||19 June 2021||410|
|Super flyweight (115 lbs)||Lourdes Juárez||12 December 2020||599|
|Sonia Osorio (interim)||26 October 2019||1012|
|Bantamweight (118 lbs)||Yulihan Luna||31 October 2020||641|
|Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (interim)||27 March 2021||494|
|Super bantamweight (122 lbs)||Yamileth Mercado||16 November 2019||991|
|Kudakwashe Chiwandire (interim)||26 February 2022||158|
|Featherweight (126 lbs)||Amanda Serrano||4 February 2021||545|
|Super featherweight (130 lbs)||Alycia Baumgardner||13 November 2021||263|
|Lightweight (135 lbs)||Katie Taylor||1 June 2019||1159|
|Super lightweight (140 lbs)||Chantelle Cameron||4 October 2020||668|
|Welterweight (147 lbs)||Jessica McCaskill||15 August 2020||718|
|Super welterweight (154 lbs)||Claressa Shields||10 January 2020||936|
|Middleweight (160 lbs)||Claressa Shields||17 November 2018||1355|
|Super middleweight (168 lbs)||Franchon Crews Dezurn||13 September 2018||1420|
|Heavyweight (168+ lbs)||vacant|
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)