W.A.K.O. held its first amateur world championships in 1978 in West Berlin, after having previously staged two European championships the two years previously. It followed this with a second world championships a year later in Tampa, Florida. During the 1980s the world championships were held every other year except for in 1985 when a feud within the W.A.K.O. organization led to two versions of the championships being held on the same date – one in London, the other in Budapest.
In the 1990s W.A.K.O. held its world championships intermittently with at least one every other year although in 1993 the organization again had a temporary political dispute which like 1985 meant two championships in one year. Also, the outbreak of the Balkan War resulted in the 1995 world championships being moved to Kiev and in 1997 to Gdańsk. By the turn-of-the-twemtieth-century, the organization began introducing two different world championships every two years - one typically covering forms of kickboxing such as full-contact, semi-contact and musical forms, while the other types such as Thai-boxing, low-kick kickboxing and later K-1 rules. Of late W.A.K.O. have begun to get involved with the SportAccordWorld Combat Games, hosting male and female full contact, semi contact and low kick kickboxing competitions at the 2010 event, with the 2009 world championships (both events) being used as qualifiers.