|Purpose||Boxing sanctioning organization|
|Headquarters||Mexico City, Mexico|
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.
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.
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.
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, Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Roy Jones Jr., Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Julio César Chávez, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, 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 and Mairis Briedis.
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), 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.
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.
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.
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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. 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 $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.
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:
- When Leon Spinks won the WBA and WBC Heavyweight Championships from Muhammad Ali in 1978, the WBC stripped Leon Spinks of his title. José Sulaimán said the WBC did so because Spinks was signed for a rematch with Ali instead of fighting a Don King fighter, Ken Norton. Norton defended the WBC title against another Don King fighter, Larry Holmes, who won the belt.
- In 1983, WBC Super Featherweight Champion Bobby Chacon was signed to fight Cornelius Boza-Edwards, the WBC's mandatory challenger for his title. But, the promoter Don King wanted his fighter, Héctor Camacho, to fight for the title. Although WBC rules said the mandatory challenger should receive a shot at the title, the WBC withdrew its sanction from the fight. It stripped Chacon of his title for refusing to fight Camacho.
- Under WBC rules, a fighter is supposed to defend his title against a mandatory challenger at least once a year. For fighters controlled by Don King, this rule is often ignored. For instance, Alexis Argüello and Carlos Zárate were allowed to ignore their obligations as WBC champions to their mandatory contenders.
- When WBC Super Featherweight Champion Julio César Chávez wanted to fight top contender Roger Mayweather for a promoter other than Don King, the WBC withheld its sanction of the fight until Don King became promoter.
- When Mike Tyson lost to James "Buster" Douglas during an IBF, WBC and WBA Heavyweight Championship defense, King convinced the WBC (along with the WBA) to withhold recognition of Douglas as heavyweight champion. King claimed that Tyson had won the fight by knocking Douglas down, after which the referee gave Douglas a "long count". The referee, Octavio Meyran, claims in an affidavit that King threatened to have the WBC withhold payment of his hotel bill if he did not support King's protest. Because of intense public pressure, both the WBA and WBC backed down and recognized Douglas as champion.
- In 1992, the WBC threatened to strip Evander Holyfield of his title for defending it against Riddick Bowe instead of Razor Ruddock. Holyfield obtained a court order to stop the organization. In a taped deposition for the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Holyfield said that the WBC wanted him to defend his championship against Ruddock because Ruddock was managed by King.
- During the 1990s, the WBC did not allow its champions to engage in unification bouts with WBO champions. However, in 1993, the super middleweight showdown between WBC champion Nigel Benn and WBO champion Chris Eubank, promoted by Don King, was recognized as a title unification fight by the WBC. The bout ended in a draw and each retained their respective titles.[circular reference]
- When Mike Tyson was released from prison in 1995, the WBC installed him as their #1 contender for their heavyweight championship. Tyson had not fought in four years, but was promoted by Don King.
- In 1993, Julio César Chávez, managed and promoted by Don King, received a majority draw against Pernell Whitaker in their WBC welterweight title fight in San Antonio, Texas. Virtually every ringside observer and boxing analyst had Whitaker winning at least 8 or 9 rounds of the 12-round fight and CompuBox statistics showed Whitaker outlanding Chávez by a wide margin. But two of the three judges had the fight scored even. The fight was promoted by King and two of the judges were not appointed by the state's boxing commission (in this case, Texas) like any other time; instead, they were appointed by the WBC. It had been reported that Don King had a hand in helping to secure the WBC judges for the fight. To this day, the resulting draw is considered one of the most controversial decisions ever.
- In 2000, Chávez, still promoted by King, was made the mandatory challenger for Kostya Tszyu's WBC super lightweight title. Chávez did not appear to satisfy requirements for a mandatory challenger: he had not fought at super lightweight for two years, had recently lost to journeyman boxer Willy Wise and had not beaten a top contender since losing to Oscar De La Hoya for the first time in 1996.
- In 2005, the WBC stripped Javier Castillejo of his super welterweight title for fighting Fernando Vargas instead of Ricardo Mayorga, a fighter promoted by Don King. The WBC qualified Mayorga for a shot at the super welterweight title although he had never fought at that weight limit and had lost two of his last three fights.
Current WBC world title holders
As of 25 February 2021
|Weight class||Champion||Reign began||Days||Record|
|Strawweight||Panya Pradabsri||27 November 2020||91||35–1|
|Light flyweight||Kenshiro Teraji||20 May 2017||1378||17–0|
|Flyweight||Julio César Martinez||20 December 2019||434||17–1–0–1|
|Super flyweight||Juan Francisco Estrada||26 April 2019||672||41–3|
|Bantamweight||Nordine Oubaali||19 January 2019||769||17–0|
|Reymart Gaballo (interim)||19 December 2020||105||24–0|
|Super bantamweight||Luis Nery||26 September 2020||153||31–0|
|Rey Vargas (in recess)||13 August 2020||197||34–0|
|Featherweight||Gary Allen Russell Jr.||28 March 2015||2162||31–1|
|Super featherweight||Óscar Valdez||20 February 2021||6||29-0|
|Lightweight||Devin Haney||13 December 2019||441||25–0|
|Ryan García (interim)||2 January 2021||55||21–0|
|Super lightweight||José Carlos Ramírez||17 March 2018||1077||26–0|
|Welterweight||Errol Spence Jr.||28 September 2019||517||27–0|
|Super welterweight||Jermell Charlo||21 December 2019||432||34–1|
|Middleweight||Jermall Charlo||26 June 2019||611||31–0|
|Super middleweight||Canelo Álvarez||19 December 2020||69||54–1–2|
|Light heavyweight||Artur Beterbiev||18 October 2019||497||15–0|
|Cruiserweight||Ilunga Makabu||31 January 2020||392||27–2|
|Heavyweight||Tyson Fury||22 February 2020||370||30–0–1|
|Alexander Povetkin (interim)||22 August 2020||188||36–2–1|
|Weight class||Champion||Reign began||Days||Record|
|Atomweight (102 lbs)||Fabiana Bytyqi||22 September 2018||888||16–0–1|
|Louisa Hawton (interim)||1 December 2019||453||10–2|
|Strawweight (105 lbs)||Tina Rupprecht||30 September 2018||880||10–0–1|
|Light flyweight (108 lbs)||Yesenia Gómez||22 September 2018||888||18–5–3–1|
|Kenia Enriquez (interim)||27 May 2017||1371||23–1|
|Flyweight (112 lbs)||Ibeth Zamora Silva||26 May 2018||1007||31–6|
|Super flyweight (115 lbs)||Lourdes Juárez||12 December 2020||76||31–2–0–1|
|Sonia Osorio (interim)||26 October 2019||489||14–7–1–3|
|Bantamweight (118 lbs)||Yulihan Luna||31 October 2020||118||20–3–1|
|Super bantamweight (122 lbs)||Yamileth Mercado||16 November 2019||468||16–2|
|Rachel Ball (interim)||14 November 2020||104||7–1|
|Featherweight (126 lbs)||Amanda Serrano||4 February 2021||22||38–1–1|
|Super featherweight (130 lbs)||Terri Harper||8 February 2020||384||11–0–1|
|Lightweight (135 lbs)||Katie Taylor||1 June 2019||636||17–0|
|Super lightweight (140 lbs)||Chantelle Cameron||4 October 2020||145||13–0|
|Welterweight (147 lbs)||Jessica McCaskill||15 August 2020||195||9–2|
|Super welterweight (154 lbs)||Claressa Shields||10 January 2020||413||10–0|
|Middleweight (160 lbs)||Claressa Shields||17 November 2018||832||10–0|
|Ema Kozin (interim)||17 October 2020||132||20–0–1|
|Super middleweight (168 lbs)||Franchon Crews Dezurn||13 September 2018||897||6–1–0–1|
|Heavyweight (168+ lbs)||vacant|
- Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF)
- North American Boxing Federation (NABF)
- European Boxing Union (EBU)
- Asian Boxing Council (ABCO)
- African Boxing Union (ABU)
- WBC Middle East Boxing Council (WBC MEBC)
- United States National Boxing Council (USNBC)
- Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE)
- Central American Boxing Federation (FECARBOX)
- CIS and Slovenian Boxing Bureau (CISBB)
- South American Continental Boxing Federation (FECONSUR)
- Hispanic World Boxing Association (ABMH)
- World Boxing Council Muaythai (WBC Muaythai)
Transitions of WBC titles
- List of WBC world champions
- List of WBC international champions
- List of WBC youth champions
- List of WBC female world champions
- "WBC May Replace Interim-Titles with 'Silver Titles'". boxingscene.com.
- "Concepcion-Narvaez will meet for interim WBC silver belt in Panama". Boxing News.
- "Allotey wins WBC International Silver belt". Boxing News.
- "WBC Diamond Belt Presentation". Fightnews. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- Newfield, Jack (1995). Only In America. New York, New York: William & Morrow Co. p. 141. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
- Heller, Peter (1988). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. New York, New York: New American Library. p. 143. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
- Sugar, Bert (October 1990). "In This Corner". Boxing Illustrated. 32 (8): 4.
- Heaney, John (December 1992). "The Senate Investigation: Much Ado About Nothing". Boxing Illustrated. 35 (10): 38.
- Nigel Benn vs. Chris Eubank
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-10-19. Retrieved 2017-10-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "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.