World Boxing Council
|Purpose||Boxing sanctioning organization|
|Headquarters||Mexico City, Mexico|
It was initially established by 11 countries: the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. Representatives met in Mexico City on February 14, 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, the National Boxing Association of the United States, the European Boxing Union and the British Boxing Board of Control, 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 Sulaiman. Former presidents include Luis Spota and Ramon G. Velázquez of Mexico, Onslow Fane of Great Britain, Justiniano N. Montano, Jr. of the Philippines and José Sulaimán of Mexico from 1975 until Sulaimán's 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 European Boxing Union (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 Duk Koo Kim 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 were the undefeated Rocky Marciano (49-0), 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, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In its discretion, the WBC may designate and recognize, upon a two-thirds majority vote of their 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 Gabriel Martínez, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Kostya Tszyu, Manny Pacquiao, Érik Morales, Toshiaki Nishioka, Vic Darchinyan, and Édgar Sosa. During the WBC's 51st Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, Floyd Mayweather 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 World Female titles in 16 weight divisions. The first WBC World Female Champion (on May 30, 2005) was the super-bantamweight Jackie Nava from Mexico. With her former-champion father at ringside, Laila Ali won the super-middleweight title on June 11, 2005.
The WBC has also created a "Silver" world title in 2010. Justin Savi was the first to win it on April 16, 2010, fighting against Cyril Thomas in France. The Silver title was created as a replacement to the interim title. But unlike its predecessor, a boxer holding the Silver title cannot inherit the full title vacated by the champion. The WBC continues to recognize Interim and Silver champions, as well as Interim Silver champions.
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 November 14, 2009 to Manny Pacquiao, who won his sixth world title (in 5 different divisions) via a 12th round technical knockout (TKO) over Miguel Ángel Cotto in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Other holders of this title have included Bernard Hopkins (light heavyweight), Sergio Martínez (middleweight), Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (super welterweight), Nonito Donaire (super bantamweight) and Jean Pascal (light heavyweight). 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.
The WBC and 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 Jose Sulaiman] became more King's junior partner than his independent regulator." Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoes that comment: "Sulaiman...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. Sulaiman 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, as WBC champions, Alexis Argüello and Carlos Zarate, were allowed to ignore their obligations to their mandatory contenders.
- While 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 due to knocking down Douglas, and the referee's giving Douglas a "long count." The referee Octavio Meyran, in an affidavit, claims that King threatened to have the WBC withhold payment of Meyran's hotel bill if Meyran 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. Each champion fought to a draw in his bout and each retained their respective titles.
- 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 & promoted by Don King, got 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 of the 12 round fight, and CompuBox statistics showed Whitaker outlanding Chavez by a wide margin. But two of the three judges had the fight scored even. The fight was promoted by King, and 2 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 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 Willie Wise, and had not beaten a top contender since losing his first fight to Oscar De La Hoya 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.
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 March 21, 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 titleholder.
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 May 7, 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 six-figure settlement with Rocchigiani, but the fighter at first rejected the proposal.
On June 11, 2004, the WBC announced it would enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation (i.e., business closing and total asset sell-off) proceedings, effectively ending 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. The WBC continues.
Current WBC world title holders
|Weight class:||Champion:||Reign began:|
|Strawweight||Wanheng Menayothin||November 6, 2014|
|Flyweight||Román González||September 5, 2014|
|Super flyweight||Carlos Cuadras||May 31, 2014|
|Bantamweight||Shinsuke Yamanaka||November 6, 2011|
|Super bantamweight||Léo Santa Cruz||August 24, 2013|
|Featherweight||Jhonny González||August 24, 2013|
|Super featherweight||Takashi Miura||April 8, 2013|
|Super lightweight||Danny García||March 24, 2012|
|Welterweight||Floyd Mayweather, Jr.||September 17, 2011|
|Super welterweight||Floyd Mayweather, Jr.||September 14, 2013|
|Middleweight||Miguel Cotto||June 7, 2014|
|Super middleweight||Anthony Dirrell||August 16, 2014|
|Light heavyweight||Adonis Stevenson||June 8, 2013|
|Cruiserweight||Grigory Drozd||September 27, 2014|
|Heavyweight||Bermane Stiverne||May 10, 2014|
Diamond belt title holders
|Weight class:||Recipient:||Date awarded:|
|Super bantamweight||Nonito Donaire||October 13, 2012|
|Welterweight||Manny Pacquiao||November 14, 2009|
|Super welterweight||Floyd Mayweather, Jr.||May 5, 2012|
|Middleweight||Sergio Martínez||March 12, 2011|
|Light heavyweight||Jean Pascal||January 18, 2014|
|Weight class:||Champion:||Date won:|
|Atomweight (102 lbs)||Momo Koseki||August 11, 2008|
|Strawweight (105 lbs)||Yuko Kuroki||May 17, 2014|
|Light flyweight (108 lbs)||Ibeth Zamora Silva||March 3, 2013|
|Flyweight (112 lbs)||Shindo Go||May 19, 2013|
|Super flyweight (115 lbs)||Zulina Muñoz||November 24, 2012|
|Bantamweight (118 lbs)||Yazmin Rivas||June 28, 2014|
|Super bantamweight (122 lbs)||Alicia Ashley||July 23, 2011|
|Featherweight (126 lbs)||Jelena Mrdjenovich||May 31, 2013|
|Super featherweight (130 lbs)||Diana Prazak||June 14, 2013|
|Lightweight (135 lbs)||Delfine Persoon||April 20, 2014|
|Super lightweight (140 lbs)||Alejandra Marina Oliveras||October 11, 2013|
|Welterweight (147 lbs)||Cecilia Brækhus||March 14, 2009|
|Super welterweight (154 lbs)||Vacant|
|Middleweight (160 lbs)||Vacant|
|Super middleweight (168 lbs)||Nikki Adler||November 30, 2013|
|Heavyweight (168+ lbs)||Vacant|
- World Boxing Council Muaythai (WBC Muaythai)
- Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF)
- North American Boxing Federation (NABF)
- European Boxing Union (EBU)
- Asian Boxing Council (ABCO)
- African Boxing Union (ABU)
- Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE)
- Central American Boxing Federation (FECARBOX)
- CIS and Slovenian Boxing Bureau (CISBB)
- South American Boxing Federation (FESUBOX)
- Hispanic World Boxing Association (ABMH)
- Pakistan Professional Boxing League (PPBL)
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
References and notes
- "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.