An interim championship is an alternate title that is awarded by the four major sanctioning bodies of professional boxing (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO), and in other combat sports such as kickboxing, professional wrestling, and mixed martial arts.
Occasionally, the champion of a particular weight division is temporarily unable to defend his championship because of medical, legal, or other reasons that are beyond the competitor's control. When this case occurs, two highly ranked contenders may fight for an interim championship of the same weight division – leading to two champions existing in the same weight division simultaneously. Once the original champion is able to return, at the discretion of the sanctioning body concerned, they must defend their title against the interim champion - who will relinquish their interim title in order to fight for the full world title. If the original champion cannot return, refuses to defend their title or transfers to a different weight division, the interim champion is then promoted to full championship status. The WBC, however, have begun awarding interim titles to the winners of final eliminator fights, effectively signifying a mandatory challenger position for the full world title. Recent examples include the winners of Dillian Whyte vs Oscar Rivas and Devin Haney vs Zaur Abdullaev.
In professional wrestling, interim championships are not common; in most cases, the wrestler who is unable to defend his championship due to medical or legal reasons is required to vacate the championship. There have been two times where WWE had recognized interim champions: the first such situation occurred in July 2011, when CM Punk and John Cena both claimed that they had the WWE Championship. In May 2020, the NXT Cruiserweight Championship began to be shared between Jordan Devlin and Santos Escobar when Devlin was unable to defend the title as a result of travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current interim champions
- As of 11 February 2020
|Sanctioning body||Weight Class||Champion|
|WBA||Light heavyweight||Dominic Boesel|
|WBA||Middleweight||Chris Eubank Jr.|
|WBA||Junior Welterweight||Alberto Puello|
|WBA||Super featherweight||Chris Colbert|
|IBF||Super bantamweight||Ryosuke Iwasa|
|WBA||Junior flyweight||Daniel Matellon|
- List of current world boxing champions
- List of current female world boxing champions
- List of current mixed martial arts champions
- Jackson, Ron. "Flyweight champ wins 15th defence." SuperBoxing. URL accessed 3 August 2006.
- WBA officials. World Boxing Association World Championships Regulations. World Boxing Association. accessed 22 December 2014.