World Boxing Organization

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World Boxing Organization
WBO logo.jpg
Abbreviation WBO
Motto Dignity, Democracy, Honesty
Formation 1988
Type Non-profit Institution
Purpose Boxing sanctioning organization
Headquarters San Juan, Puerto Rico
Region served
Francisco Varcarcel
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 did not 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.[1]

In 2004 the WBC began naming WBO champions on its ranking listings.[2] The IBF did not recognize the WBO in May 2006,[3] but was doing so by February 2007.[4] WBO regulations explicitly recognize the other three sanctioning bodies.[5] 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.[6]

Fighters who have been named "WBO Super Champion" include: Wladimir Klitschko, Marco Huck, Bernard Hopkins, Joe Calzaghe, Kelly Pavlik, Óscar 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[edit]

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.[7][8]

Minimumweight title declared vacant[edit]

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.[9]

Ranking of deceased boxer[edit]

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.[10] One week after British newspaper The Independent broke the story that one of the three men ranking the boxers, Gordon Volkman, still had not heard that Morris was dead.[11]

Silky Jones saga[edit]

In 2014, it came to the attention of the media via social networks that the WBO allegedly failed to present their former Junior Middleweight champion Paul "Silky" Jones with his title belt. Jones claims that he never received his belt almost 20 years after originally winning it. Fans of the popular British fighter started an ongoing campaign titled Get Silky His Belt.[citation needed]

Current WBO world title holders[edit]


Weight class: Title holder: Reign began:
Mini flyweight  Kosei Tanaka (JPN) May 30, 2015
Junior flyweight  Donnie Nietes (PHI) October 8, 2011
Flyweight  Juan Francisco Estrada (MEX) April 6, 2013
Junior bantamweight  Naoya Inoue (JPN) December 30, 2014
Bantamweight  Pungluang Sor Singyu (THA) August 7, 2015
Junior featherweight  Nonito Donaire (PHI) December 11, 2015
Featherweight  Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR) June 21, 2014
Junior lightweight  Román Martínez (PUR) April 11, 2015
Lightweight  Terry Flanagan (UK) July 11, 2015
Junior welterweight  Terence Crawford (USA) April 18, 2015
Welterweight vacant
Junior middleweight  Liam Smith (UK) October 10, 2015
Middleweight  Billy Joe Saunders (UK) December 19, 2015
Super middleweight  Arthur Abraham (GER) March 1, 2014
Light heavyweight  Sergey Kovalev (RUS) (Super Champion) August 17, 2013
Cruiserweight  Krzysztof Głowacki (POL) August 14, 2015
Heavyweight  Tyson Fury (UK) November 28, 2015


Weight class: Champion: Date won:
Atomweight (102 lb.) Japan Nao Ikeyama May 17, 2014
Mini flyweight (105 lb.)
Junior flyweight (108 lb.)  Yesica Bopp (ARG) November 6, 2009
Flyweight (112 lb.)  Kenia Enríquez (MEX) November 21, 2014
Junior bantamweight (115 lb.)  Daniela Romina Bermudez (ARG) January 4, 2014
Bantamweight (118 lb.)  Carolina Duer (ARG) July 26, 2013
Junior featherweight (122 lb.)  Marcela Acuna (ARG) October 25, 2013
Featherweight (126 lb.) vacant
Junior lightweight (130 lb.)  Ramona Kuehne (GER) June 4, 2010
Lightweight (135 lb.)  Maria Elena Maderna (ARG) June 14, 2013
Junior welterweight (140 lb.)  Fernanda Alegre (ARG) December 3, 2010
Welterweight (147 lb.)  Cecilia Brækhus (NOR) May 15, 2010
Junior middleweight (154 lb.)  Hanna Gabriel (CRC) December 20, 2014
Middleweight (160 lb.)  Christina Hammer (GER) July 13, 2013
Super middleweight (168 lb.) vacant
Light heavyweight (175 lb.) vacant
Junior heavyweight (200 lb.) vacant
Heavyweight (200+ lb.) vacant

Former champions[edit]

WBO affiliated organizations[edit]

Transition of WBO titles[edit]


  1. ^ "Super championships guidelines". WBA. Archived from the original on November 19, 2001. Retrieved November 14, 2008. 
  2. ^ Compare
    "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. 
  3. ^ "IBF/USBA Rules Governing Championship Contests" (PDF). IBF. May 2006. pp. 10–11. 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. 
  4. ^ "IBF Ratings". IBF. February 2007. Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved November 15, 2008. 
  5. ^ "§7 unification bouts and unification tournaments as mandatory title bouts". Regulations of World Championship Contests. WBO. p. 8. Retrieved November 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ Myron Sta. Ana (November 20, 2012). "Wars Katsumata Wins by Knockout in Japan". Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ Hauser, Thomas (March 16, 2008). "The Heavyweight Follies". 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 
  9. ^ "PLUS: BOXING; Jamili Takes Strawweight Title". The New York Times. December 20, 1997. 
  10. ^ Bunce, Steve (February 13, 2001). "Death no barrier to fighter's rise in rankings". The Independent (London). Retrieved March 1, 2009. 
  11. ^ Graham, Tim (February 20, 2001). "New WBO division: Dead weight". Retrieved March 1, 2009. 

External links[edit]