World Boxing Organization
|Motto||Dignity, Democracy, Honesty|
|Purpose||Boxing sanctioning organization|
|Headquarters||San Juan, Puerto Rico|
|Main organ||General Assembly|
The World Boxing Organization (WBO) is a sanctioning organization currently recognizing professional boxing world champions. The organization is recognized as one of the four major world championship groups by the IBHOF alongside the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Association. WBO offices are located in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The WBO started after a group of Puerto Rican and Dominican businessmen broke out of the World Boxing Association's 1988 annual convention in Isla Margarita, Venezuela over disputes regarding what rules should be applied.
The WBO's first president was Ramon Pina Acevedo of the Dominican Republic. Soon after its beginning, the WBO was staging world championship bouts around the globe. Its first championship fight was for its vacant super-middleweight title, between Thomas Hearns and James Kinchen; Hearns won by decision. In order to gain respectability, the WBO next elected former world light-heavyweight champion José Torres of Ponce, Puerto Rico, as its president. Torres left in 1996, giving way to Puerto Rican lawyer Francisco Varcarcel as president. Varcarcel has been there since.
At heavyweight, especially in the United States, the organization struggled to gain credibility as a major sanctioning body, with WBO heavyweight title-holders Michael Moorer, Riddick Bowe, and Henry Akinwande relinquishing the title to pursue other options. Boxing publication The Ring also didn't recognize the WBO, despite having recognized the IBF after its inception in 1983, five years prior to the WBO.
In the lighter weight divisions however, long-reigning champions during the 1990s such as Chris Eubank, Dariusz Michalczewski, Johnny Tapia, and Naseem Hamed gave the WBO title much more prestige. The WBO was also made popular by boxers such as Marco Antonio Barrera, Oscar De La Hoya, Nigel Benn, Ronald "Winky" Wright, Joe Calzaghe, and Wladimir Klitschko holding its title.
In Europe, the WBO was more accepted during its early years than in the U.S., and WBO champions always fared well in unification bouts with WBC, WBA, and IBF champions. (For instance, WBO light heavyweight champ Dariusz Michalczewski unified his belt with the WBA and IBF titles by defeating Virgil Hill.) By 2001, the WBA was giving the same recognition to WBO champions as to WBA, WBC and IBF champions. In 2004 the WBC began naming WBO champions on its ranking listings. The IBF did not recognise the WBO in May 2006, but was doing so by February 2007. WBO regulations explicitly recognise the other three sanctioning bodies. For many years, as with the IBF, boxers based in Japan were not permitted to fight for WBO titles. In 2012, the Japan Boxing Commission (JBC) recognized the governing body.
Fighters who have been named "WBO Super Champion" include: Wladimir Klitschko, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, Kelly Pavlik, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Márquez, Juan Díaz, Marco Antonio Barrera, Fernando Montiel, Jorge Arce, Omar Andrés Narváez and Iván Calderón.
Initial holder of heavyweight title
While the IBF had awarded recognition to Larry Holmes soon after its inception in 1983 (as they did with several established champions in the lower weight divisions), the WBO sanctioned a fight between two relatively unknown fighters, Francesco Damiani (winner of the super heavyweight silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles) and Johnny DuPlooy, to determine the initial holder of its heavyweight title in 1989. All other sanctioning bodies of boxing recognized the then-undefeated Mike Tyson as the heavyweight champion. Damiani went on to win the initial WBO heavyweight title.
Minimumweight title declared vacant
On August 23, 1997, WBC minimumweight champion Ricardo López won the WBO minimumweight title by knocking out Puerto Rican fighter Alex Sánchez. After the bout, López told a Mexican newspaper that he wanted to give his newly won championship belt to his father, who is a boxing fan. WBO president Francisco Varcarcel said he viewed that comment as a public resignation and declared the title vacant without holding a hearing or notifying López. The WBO sanctioned a bout between Eric Jamili (10–5–1) and Mickey Cantwell (13–4–1) to fill the vacancy despite protests by López.
Ranking of deceased boxer
The WBO twice moved Darrin Morris up in its super-middleweight rankings in 2001, despite the fact that he was dead. Morris was Number 7 at the time of his death and Number 5 when the WBO discovered the error. Varcarcel said, "We obviously missed the fact that Darrin was dead. It is regrettable." Valcarcel also stated that other boxing sanctioning organizations had made similar errors in the past by continuing to rank another boxer after he was dead. One week after British newspaper The Independent broke the story, one of the three men ranking the boxers, Gordon Volkman, still had not heard that Morris was dead.
Current WBO world title holders
|Weight class:||Title holder:||Reign began:|
|Mini flyweight||Francisco Rodríguez, Jr.||March 23, 2014|
|Junior flyweight||Donnie Nietes||October 8, 2011|
|Flyweight||Juan Francisco Estrada||April 6, 2013|
|Junior bantamweight||Omar Andrés Narváez (Super Champion)||May 15, 2010|
|Bantamweight||Tomoki Kameda||August 1, 2013|
|Junior featherweight||Guillermo Rigondeaux||April 13, 2013|
|Featherweight||Vasyl Lomachenko||June 21, 2014|
|Junior lightweight||Orlando Salido||October 14, 2014|
|Lightweight||Terence Crawford||March 1, 2014|
|Welterweight||Manny Pacquiao (Super Champion)||April 12, 2014|
|Junior middleweight||Demetrius Andrade||November 9, 2013|
|Super middleweight||Arthur Abraham||March 1, 2014|
|Light heavyweight||Sergey Kovalev||August 17, 2013|
|Junior heavyweight||Marco Huck||August 29, 2009|
|Heavyweight||Wladimir Klitschko (Super Champion)||February 23, 2008|
|Weight class:||Champion:||Date won:|
|Atomweight (102 lb.)||Nao Ikeyama||May 17, 2014|
|Mini flyweight (105 lb.)||vacant|
|Junior flyweight (108 lb.)||Yesica Bopp||November 6, 2009|
|Flyweight (112 lb.)||vacant|
|Junior bantamweight (115 lb.)||Daniela Romina Bermudez||January 4, 2014|
|Bantamweight (118 lb.)||Carolina Duer||July 26, 2013|
|Junior featherweight (122 lb.)||Marcela Acuna||October 25, 2013|
|Featherweight (126 lb.)||vacant|
|Junior lightweight (130 lb.)||Ramona Kuehne||June 4, 2010|
|Lightweight (135 lb.)||Maria Elena Maderna||June 14, 2013|
|Junior welterweight (140 lb.)||Fernanda Alegre||December 3, 2010|
|Welterweight (147 lb.)||Cecilia Brækhus||May 15, 2010|
|Junior middleweight (154 lb.)||vacant|
|Middleweight (160 lb.)||Christina Hammer||July 13, 2013|
|Super middleweight (168 lb.)||vacant|
|Light heavyweight (175 lb.)||vacant|
|Junior heavyweight (200 lb.)||vacant|
|Heavyweight (200+ lb.)||vacant|
WBO affiliated organizations
- North American Boxing Organization (NABO)
- WBO LATINO
- WBO Asia-Pacific
Transition of WBO titles
- "Super championships guidelines". WBA. Archived from the original on November 19, 2001. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
"WBC Bantamweight Ratings (incl. WBO)". WBC. Archived from the original on August 3, 2004. Retrieved November 15, 2008. and
"WBC Bantamweight Ratings (excl. WBO)". WBC. Archived from the original on February 4, 2004. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
- "IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests". pp.10–11. IBF. May 2006. Retrieved November 15, 2008. "For the purpose of unification of titles, the Champions of the World Boxing Association (“WBA”) and the World Boxing Council (“WBC”) may be designated as “elite contenders” and may be permitted to fight for the unified title. Unification bouts with other organizations will be considered on a case to case basis."
- "IBF Ratings". IBF. February 2007. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2008.
- "§7 unification bouts and unification tournaments as mandatory title bouts". Regulations of World Championship Contests. WBO. p. 8. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
- Myron Sta. Ana (November 20, 2012). "Wars Katsumata Wins by Knockout in Japan". PhilBoxing.com. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Hurley, Matthew (11 August 2007). "Klitschko Ibragimov Close To Being Set For February". East Side Boxing. Retrieved June 3, 2009. "The WBO, which was introduced in 1989, was not generally considered a legitimate heavyweight belt at the time. The organization's first heavyweight champion was Francesco Damiani whose short reign came during Mike Tyson's run as undisputed champion."
- Hauser, Thomas (March 16, 2008). "The Heavyweight Follies". SecondsOut.com. Retrieved June 3, 2009. "And the WBO belt has NEVER been carried into the ring by the true heavyweight champion of the world. The first WBO heavyweight beltholder was Francesco Damiani, who won the bauble by knocking out Johnny DuPlooy in 1989"
- "PLUS: BOXING; Jamili Takes Strawweight Title". The New York Times. December 20, 1997.
- Bunce, Steve (February 13, 2001). "Death no barrier to fighter's rise in rankings". The Independent (London). Retrieved March 1, 2009.
- Graham, Tim (February 20, 2001). "New WBO division: Dead weight". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 1, 2009.