World Boxing Council
AbbreviationWBC
Formation1963; 58 years ago (1963)
TypeNon-profit institution
PurposeBoxing sanctioning organization
HeadquartersMexico City, Mexico
Region served
Worldwide
President
Mauricio Sulaimán
Main organ
General Assembly
Websitewww.wbcboxing.com

The World Boxing Council (WBC) is one of four major organizations which sanctions 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.

History

The WBC was initially established by 11 countries: the United States, Puerto Rico, 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.[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.

Championship

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.

Silver Championship

In 2010, the WBC created a "Silver Championship", intended as a replacement for interim titles.[1] 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.[2] A year later, the WBC introduced Silver versions to its International titles.[3] 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.[4] 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), and Alexander Povetkin (heavyweight). 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 has successfully and remains a top performer in the sport. In June the WBC confirmed its first-ever WBC Franchise champion Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez as the first-ever middleweight boxer to be crowned Franchise champion who has represented the WBC for 11 years with many title defence victories. Later on that year on 23 October 2019, Vasyl 'Hi Tech' Lomachenko was named as the second-ever WBC Franchise champion and first-ever in the Lightweight division. The following year on 17 October 2020, Vasyl Lomachenko would go on and lose his WBC Franchise belt to undefeated Teófimo López in which crowned López as the third ever boxer and second WBC Lightweight Franchise champion. Just a few months later, Juan Francisco Estrada was named the fourth-ever WBC Franchise champion, and the first-ever super flyweight champion to be named as such.

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.

Controversies

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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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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 $30 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.

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".[5] Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoes that comment: "Sulaimán...became little more than an errand boy for Don King".[6] 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."[6]

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

Current WBC world title holders

As of 24 April 2021

Male

Weight class Champion Reign began Days Record
Strawweight Thailand Panya Pradabsri 27 November 2020 160 35–1
Light flyweight Japan Kenshiro Teraji 20 May 2017 1447 17–0
Flyweight Mexico Julio César Martinez 20 December 2019 503 17–1–0–1
Super flyweight vacant
Bantamweight France Nordine Oubaali 19 January 2019 838 17–0
Philippines Reymart Gaballo (interim) 19 December 2020 174 24–0
Super bantamweight Mexico Luis Nery 26 September 2020 222 31–0
Mexico Rey Vargas (in recess) 13 August 2020 266 34–0
Featherweight United States Gary Allen Russell Jr. 28 March 2015 2231 31–1
Super featherweight Mexico Óscar Valdez 20 February 2021 75 29–0
Lightweight United States Devin Haney 13 December 2019 510 25–0
United States Ryan García (interim) 2 January 2021 124 21–0
Super lightweight United States José Carlos Ramírez 17 March 2018 1146 26–0
Welterweight United States Errol Spence Jr. 28 September 2019 586 27–0
Super welterweight United States Jermell Charlo 21 December 2019 501 34–1
Middleweight United States Jermall Charlo 26 June 2019 680 31–0
Super middleweight Mexico Canelo Álvarez 19 December 2020 138 55–1–2
Light heavyweight Russia Artur Beterbiev 18 October 2019 566 15–0
Cruiserweight Democratic Republic of the Congo Ilunga Makabu 31 January 2020 461 28–2
Bridgerweight vacant
Heavyweight United Kingdom Tyson Fury 22 February 2020 439 30–0–1
United Kingdom Dillian Whyte (interim) 27 March 2021 40 28–2

Female

Weight class Champion Reign began Days Record
Atomweight (102 lbs) Czech Republic Fabiana Bytyqi 22 September 2018 957 16–0–1
Australia Louisa Hawton (interim) 1 December 2019 522 10–2
Strawweight (105 lbs) Germany Tina Rupprecht 30 September 2018 949 10–0–1
Light flyweight (108 lbs) Mexico Yesenia Gómez 22 September 2018 957 18–5–3–1
Mexico Kenia Enriquez (interim) 27 May 2017 1440 23–1
Flyweight (112 lbs) Mexico Ibeth Zamora Silva 26 May 2018 1076 31–6
Super flyweight (115 lbs) Mexico Lourdes Juárez 12 December 2020 145 31–2–0–1
Mexico Sonia Osorio (interim) 26 October 2019 558 14–7–1–3
Bantamweight (118 lbs) Mexico Yulihan Luna 31 October 2020 187 20–3–1
Russia Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (interim) 27 March 2021 40 11–0
Super bantamweight (122 lbs) Mexico Yamileth Mercado 16 November 2019 537 16–2
United Kingdom Rachel Ball (interim) 14 November 2020 173 7–1
Featherweight (126 lbs) Puerto Rico Amanda Serrano 4 February 2021 91 39–1–1
Super featherweight (130 lbs) United Kingdom Terri Harper 8 February 2020 453 11–0–1
Lightweight (135 lbs) Republic of Ireland Katie Taylor 1 June 2019 705 17–0
Super lightweight (140 lbs) United Kingdom Chantelle Cameron 4 October 2020 214 13–0
Welterweight (147 lbs) United States Jessica McCaskill 15 August 2020 264 9–2
Super welterweight (154 lbs) United States Claressa Shields 10 January 2020 482 11–0
Middleweight (160 lbs) United States Claressa Shields 17 November 2018 901 11–0
Slovenia Ema Kozin (interim) 17 October 2020 201 20–0–1
Super middleweight (168 lbs) United States Franchon Crews Dezurn 13 September 2018 966 7–1–0–1
Heavyweight (168+ lbs) vacant

Affiliated organizations

Transitions of WBC titles

See also

References

  1. ^ "WBC May Replace Interim-Titles with 'Silver Titles'". boxingscene.com.
  2. ^ "Concepcion-Narvaez will meet for interim WBC silver belt in Panama". Boxing News.
  3. ^ "Allotey wins WBC International Silver belt". Boxing News.
  4. ^ "WBC Diamond Belt Presentation". Fightnews. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Sugar, Bert (October 1990). "In This Corner". Boxing Illustrated. 32 (8): 4.
  8. ^ Heaney, John (December 1992). "The Senate Investigation: Much Ado About Nothing". Boxing Illustrated. 35 (10): 38.
  9. ^ Nigel Benn vs. Chris Eubank
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2017-10-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Oscar Time : It wasn't an award-winning performance, but Oscar De La Hoya took Pernell Whitaker's welterweight title". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.