World Boxing Association

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World Boxing Association
World Boxing Association logo.jpg
1921; 99 years ago (1921) (as NBA)

1962; 58 years ago (1962) (as WBA)

TypeNon-profit institution
PurposeBoxing sanctioning organization
HeadquartersPanama City, Panama
Region served
Gilberto Mendoza Jr.
Main organ
General Assembly

The World Boxing Association (WBA), formerly known as the National Boxing Association (NBA), is the oldest and one of four major organizations which sanction professional boxing bouts, alongside the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). The WBA awards its world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by 13 state representatives as the NBA, in 1962 it changed its name in recognition of boxing's growing popularity worldwide and began to gain other nations as members.

By 1975, a majority of votes were held by Latin American nations and the organization headquarters had moved to Panama. After being located during the 1990s and early 2000s in Venezuela, the organization offices returned to Panama in 2007. It is the oldest of the four major organizations recognized by the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF), which sanction world championship boxing bouts, alongside the WBC, IBF and WBO.


The World Boxing Association can be traced back to the original National Boxing Association, organized in 1921. The first bout it recognized was the Jack DempseyGeorges Carpentier Heavyweight Championship bout in New Jersey.

The NBA was formed by representatives from 13 American states, including Sam Milner, to counterbalance the influence that the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) wielded. The NBA and the NYSAC sometimes crowned different world champions in the same division, leading to confusion about who was the real champion.[1]

The International Boxing Research Organization describes the early NBA as follows:

Originally more comparable to the present American Association of Boxing Commissions than to its offspring and successor, the NBA sanctioned title bouts, published lists of outstanding challengers, withdrew titular recognition, but did not attempt to appoint its own title bout officials or otherwise impose its will on championship fights. It also did not conduct purse bids or collect "sanctioning fees."[2]

The NBA officially became the WBA on 23 August 1962.[3] Gilberto Mendoza was the President of the WBA from 1982 until his death in 2016, after which Gilberto Mendoza Jr. took over as President. In the 1990s, the WBA moved its central offices from Panama City, Panama, to Caracas, Venezuela. In January 2007, it returned its offices to Panama.


As has been the case with all major boxing sanctioning organizations, the WBA has been plagued with charges of corrupt practices. In a 1981 Sports Illustrated article, a boxing judge claimed he was influenced by WBA President Gilberto Mendoza to judge certain fighters competing for their titles more favorably. The same article also discussed a variety of bribes paid to WBA officials to obtain championship bout opportunities, or higher placement within the organization's rankings.[4] In a 1982 interview, boxing promoter Bob Arum claimed that he had to pay off WBA officials to obtain rankings for his fighters.[5] Further support for allegations of this nature came in the 1980s and 1990s as two other organizations would have similar corruption exposed, including the conviction and imprisonment of IBF President Bob Lee and Graciano Rocchigiani's successful civil prosecution of the WBC that resulted in the organization briefly filing for bankruptcy before reaching a settlement that saved it from collapse.

Fragmented Championships[edit]

The World Boxing Association presently can recognize up to four "World Champions" in any given weight division, to a point of rendering it technically impossible under certain conditions for a WBA "World Champion" to even hold sole recognition from the organization as its champion in a division.

The most prominent designation is that of the "Super Champion," ostensibly reserved for WBA champions who are simultaneously recognized by the WBC, IBF or WBO. A "Super Champion" is afforded special consideration by the organization with respect to meeting mandatory defense obligations to maintain championship recognition, but it also has opened the door for the organization to recognize a separate "World Champion," commonly referred to as a "Regular" champion; creating confusion among fans as to who holds the de facto championship title. Some WBA "World Champions" have been upgraded to "Super Champion" status without winning another organization's title, among them Floyd Mayweather Jr., Chris John, Anselmo Moreno and Manny Pacquiao; or upon defending their "Regular" title five or more times.[6] Upon awarding a "Super Championship", the regular "World Champion" status is deemed vacant, whereupon it is filled by the organization as a separate championship.

The WBA further complicates this from time to time by recognizing an "Interim Champion," ostensibly in cases where a "Super Champion" or (Regular) "World Champion" is, for some reason, prohibited from making a timely defense of their title. Under such conditions, the "Interim" title holder is to be the next person to compete for the "Super" or "World" championship title once the latter's disability no longer exists. In practice however, this actually occurs rarely if ever and in 2019 the organization began recognizing "Gold Champions," for which no provision exists even within the organization's own governing documents. As of December 2019 for example, the WBA simultaneously recognized a "Super Champion" (Anthony Joshua), "World Champion" (Manuel Charr), "Interim Champion" (Trevor Bryan) and "Gold Champion" (Joe Joyce).

There have even been instances where different WBA "World" champions have defended versions of the same title, in the same weight class, on the same date in different events.

Boxer rankings[edit]

The organization has further garnered negative attention with respect to its ranking of boxers, in spite of having adopted a complex, documented rating formula in the 2000s. In 2015 for example, Ali Raymi would be rated Number 6 when, in his service as a colonel in the Yemeni armed forces, he was killed. His death didn't significantly hinder his rating position in the WBA however, as in a subsequent ranking his corpse had only dropped to Number 11.[7]

Man of Triumph belts[edit]

Since 2015, the WBA awards a customized version of their "Super Champion" belt to big fights involving a WBA championship. The WBA called this the Man of Triumph belt, named after the trophy awarded to the winner of the Mayweather–Pacquiao fight. The plate of the belt has the images of the two boxers fighting. Floyd Mayweather Jr. received the first gold-plated version of the belt while Manny Pacquiao was awarded a one-time rhodium-plated version.[8] Other recipients of the custom gold-plated belt are Anthony Joshua,[9] Vasyl Lomachenko,[10] Manny Pacquiao,[11] Oleksandr Usyk,[12] Canelo Álvarez[13] and Callum Smith.[14]

Current WBA world title holders[edit]

As of 22 December 2019


World champions[edit]

Weight class: Champion: Reign began: Days:
Mini flyweight  Thammanoon Niyomtrong (THA) 29 June 2016 1302
Light flyweight  Hiroto Kyoguchi (JPN) (Super Champion) 31 December 2018 387
 Carlos Cañizales (VEN) 18 March 2018 675
Flyweight  Artem Dalakian (UKR) 24 February 2018 697
Super flyweight  Khalid Yafai (GBR) 10 December 2016 1138
Bantamweight  Naoya Inoue (JPN) (Super Champion) 7 November 2019 76
Super bantamweight  Daniel Roman (USA) (Super Champion) 9 December 2017 774
 Brandon Figueroa (USA) 20 April 2019 277
Featherweight  Léo Santa Cruz (MEX) (Super Champion) 24 November 2019
 Xu Can (CHN) 26 January 2019 361
Super featherweight  Rene Alvarado (NIC) 24 November 2019 59
Lightweight  Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR) (Super Champion) 12 May 2018 620
 Gervonta Davis (USA) 28 December 2019 25
Super lightweight  Josh Taylor (GBR) (Super Champion) 26 October 2019 88
 Mario Barrios (USA) 28 September 2019 116
Welterweight  Manny Pacquiao (PHI) (Super Champion) 20 July 2019 186
 Alexander Besputin (RUS) 30 November 2019 53
Super welterweight  Jeison Rosario (DOM) (Unified Champion) 18 January 2020 4
 Erislandy Lara (USA) 31 August 2019 144
Middleweight  Canelo Álvarez (MEX) (Super Champion) 15 September 2018 494
 Ryōta Murata (JPN) 12 July 2019 194
Super middleweight  Callum Smith (GBR) (Super Champion) 28 September 2018 481
 Canelo Álvarez (MEX) 15 December 2018 403
Light heavyweight  Dmitry Bivol (RUS) (Super Champion) 21 May 2016 1341
 Jean Pascal (CAN) 29 December 2019 67
Cruiserweight  Arsen Goulamirian (FRA) (Super Champion) 31 May 2019 236
Heavyweight  Anthony Joshua (GBR) (Super Champion) 7 December 2019 46
 Manuel Charr (GER) 25 November 2017 788
 Trevor Bryan (USA) (Interim Champion) 11 August 2018 529


World champions[edit]

Weight class: Champion: Reign began: Days:
Light minimumweight (102 lbs) vacant
Minimumweight (105 lbs)  Anabel Ortiz (MEX) 23 July 2013 2374
Light flyweight (108 lbs)  Yesica Bopp (ARG) 20 June 2009 3868
Flyweight (112 lbs)  Naoko Fujioka (JPN) 13 March 2017 1045
Super flyweight (115 lbs)  Linda Lecca (PER) 15 April 2016 1377
Bantamweight (118 lbs)  Mayerlin Rivas (VEN) 16 January 2015 1832
Super bantamweight (122 lbs)  Liliana Palmera (COL) 18 November 2017 795
Featherweight (126 lbs)  Jelena Mrdjenovich (CAN) 11 March 2016 1412
Super featherweight (130 lbs)  Choi Hyun-Mi (KOR) 15 August 2013 2351
Lightweight (135 lbs)  Katie Taylor (IRL) 28 October 2017 816
Super lightweight (140 lbs)  Jessica McCaskill (USA) 25 May 2019 242
Welterweight (147 lbs)  Cecilia Brækhus (NOR) 14 March 2009 3966
Super welterweight (154 lbs)  Hanna Gabriel (CRC) 18 June 2016 1313
Middleweight (160 lbs)  Claressa Shields (USA) 22 June 2018 579
Super middleweight (168 lbs)  Elin Cederroos (SWE) 10 January 2020 12
Light heavyweight (168+ lbs) uninaugurated

Affiliated organizations[edit]

  • WBA Asia
  • WBA Oceania
  • Federación Latinoamericana de Comisiones de Boxeo Profesional (WBA Fedelatin)
  • Federación Bolivariana de Boxeo (WBA Fedebol)
  • Federación Centroamericana de Boxeo (WBA Fedecentro)
  • Federación del Caribe de Boxeo (WBA Fedecaribe)
  • North American Boxing Association (NABA)

Transitions of WBA titles[edit]


  1. ^ Mullan, Harry (1996). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. London: Carlton Books. p. 121. ISBN 0-7858-0641-5.
  2. ^ "Boxing Bodies: A Brief Chronology and Rundown". International Boxing Digest. 40 (1): 58. January 1998.
  3. ^ "World Boxing Association History". WBA. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  4. ^ Heller, Peter (1988). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. New York: New American Library. pp. 141–142. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
  5. ^ Mullan. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. p. 122.
  6. ^ Gabriel F. Cordero (November 30, 2012). ""Chocolatito" is the latest WBA super champion". Archived from the original on December 2, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  7. ^ "WBA ranking update leaves questions and criticism". Asian Boxing.
  8. ^ "WBA "Man of Triumph" Trophy".
  9. ^ "WBA special belt for the Klitschko-Joshua".
  10. ^ "Lomachenko and Linares Special Super Belt Made".
  11. ^ "Paccquiao and Matthysse Special Super Belt Made".
  12. ^ "Gilberto Jesus Mendoza will travel to Russia".
  13. ^ "Boxing News: Special WBA belt for GGG-Canelo winner » December 4, 2019". September 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "The WBA will make history in Saudi Arabia".
  15. ^ "WBA Intercontinental Champions".
  16. ^ "WBA International Champions".

External links[edit]