World boxing championship records and statistics

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Since at least John L. Sullivan, in the late 19th century, there have been world champions in professional boxing. At the very beginnings, before any sanctioning body was established, many boxers proclaimed themselves as legitimate champions. Eventually, champions were recognized through public acclamation, succesively establishing a lineage. Important sets of weight classes were those specified in 1909 by the National Sporting Club of London, and those contained in the 1920 Walker Law which established the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC). NYSAC recognized champions from its foundation in 1920.[1] The National Boxing Association (NBA) was founded by other U.S. state bodies in 1921.[1] Until the 1960s, both usually recognised the same lineal champion.[2] However, disputes could arise if the champion retired or moved to a different weight class. Occasionally, the International Boxing Union (renamed the European Boxing Union in 1946) recognised a different champion. The disputes were usually short-lived as a lucrative fight would be organised between the rival champions.

The growing popularity of boxing outside of the USA led to creation of various boxing organizations, each strengthening their influence (most notably BBBofC) and having their own champion. This resulted in a growing number of boxers claiming to be legitimate champions. On August 23, 1962, the NBA officially became the World Boxing Association and moved their headquarters to Panama City, Panama. A year later NYSAC along with European Boxing Union and BBBofC supported creation of the World Boxing Council. In April 1983, members of United States Boxing Association along with Robert W. Lee (a former WBA vice-president) voted to expand the organisation and form the USBA-International. The organization later changed the name to International Boxing Federation.[3] The inaugural IBF Heavyweight Champion was Larry Holmes, who relinquished the WBC title to accept IBF's recognition, thus helping the newly formed organization to establish its legitimacy.[4] Another major sanctioning body, the World Boxing Organisation, was established in 1988 in San Juan, Puerto Rico by a group of local businessmen. At the beginnings, when most of the challengers for WBA, WBC and IBF titles were Americans, WBO had a wider variety of countries, mainly United Kingdom, represented in title bouts. As of 2018, WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA are all recognized as major boxing organizations by each other and the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Championship recognition[edit]

1884–1910[edit]

Champions were recognized by public acclamation. A champion in that era was a fighter who had a notable win over another fighter and kept winning afterward. Retirements or disputed results could lead to a championship being split among several men for periods of time. With only minor exceptions, the heavyweight division remained free from dual title-holders until the 1960s. For an early example, see the 1896 World Heavyweight Championship.

Sanctioning organizations: 1910–present[edit]

Gradually, the role of recognizing champions in the division evolved into a more formal affair, with public acclamation being supplemented (or in some cases, contradicted) by recognition by one or more athletic commissions, sanctioning organizations, or a combination of them. The most notable examples with respect to the heavyweight division have included:

There are also titles that aren't considered major but play a significant role in legitimizing the champion:

  • Lineal championship was considered as the only form of the world championship until 1921. In professional boxing, the lineal champion is informally called "the man who beat the man", implying that the only way to win the championship is either to beat the current champion or (when the title is vacated due to suspension, retirement etc.) to become the winner of a fight between No. 1 and No. 2 (ocasionally No. 3) ranked contenders.
  • The Ring began awarding championship belts in 1922, stopped giving belts to world champions in the 1990s, then reintroduced their title in 2002, and ignored the current ongoing world championship lineage. Under the original version of the policy, you could win the title by eather defeating the reigning champion or winning a box-off between the magazine's No. 1 and No. 2 (ocasionally No. 3) ranked contenders. A fighter could not be stripped of the title unless he lost or retired. Since May 2012, under the new policy, The Ring title can be awarded when the No. 1 and No. 2 contenders face each other or when either of them faces No. 3, No. 4 or No. 5 contender. In addition, the title can be taken away by losing the fight, moving to another weight class, not scheduling a fight for 18 months in the division, not scheduling a fight with a top 5 contender for two years in any weight class, or retiring.[5]

Title fight wins & beaten opponents — The Ring/lineal champions[edit]

Though these lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, they only include title fight wins in weight classes where the champion have also captured The Ring or lineal title.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note: WBA (Regular) champions are not included

Highest avg. of wins & beaten opponents[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Photo Name Division Recognition Avg. of wins & BO
1. Wladimir Klitschko 2010-2.jpg Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko Heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 24
1. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. cropped.jpg United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. Light middleweight
Welterweight
Lightweight
Super featherweight
WBA, WBC
WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO
WBC
WBC
24
3. Joe Louis cph.3b09981.jpg United States Joe Louis Heavyweight NYSAC, NBA 23.5
3. Bernard Hopkins at the Golovkin-Lemieux Press Conference (cropped).jpg United States Bernard Hopkins Light heavyweight
Middleweight
WBA, WBC, IBF
WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO
23.5
4. Dariusz Michalczewski (2007).jpg Germany Dariusz Michalczewski Light heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 23
5. Boxing pictogram.svg Mexico Ricardo López Minimumweight WBA, WBC, WBO 22
6. Muhammad Ali NYWTS.jpg United States Muhammad Ali Heavyweight WBA, WBC 21.5
6. Joe Calzaghe crop.jpg United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe Super middleweight WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO 21.5
6. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Mar. 2010.jpg Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Flyweight WBC 21.5
6. One Last Stand.jpg United States Virgil Hill Light heavyweight WBA, WBC, IBF 21.5
10. Julio Cesar Chavez1 Champ.jpg Mexico Julio César Chávez Light welterweight
Lightweight
WBC, IBF
WBA, WBC
21
11. Larry Holmes 1979.jpg United States Larry Holmes Heavyweight WBC 20
12. George Dixon boxer.jpg Canada George Dixon Featherweight Universal 19.5
13. Henry Armstrong.jpg United States Henry Armstrong Welterweight
Lightweight
Featherweight
NBA, NYSAC 19
14. Boxing pictogram.svg Panama Eusebio Pedroza Featherweight WBA 18.5
14. Wilfredo Gómez 2.jpg Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez Super featherweight
Super bantamweight
WBA
WBC
18.5

Most opponents beaten in title fights[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Beaten opponents
1. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 23
1. United States Bernard Hopkins 23
1. United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. 23
4. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 22
4. Mexico Ricardo López 22
6. United States Joe Louis 21
6. United States Muhammad Ali 21
6. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 21
6. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 21
6. United States Virgil Hill 21
6. Mexico Julio César Chávez 21
12. United States Larry Holmes 20
13. Canada George Dixon 19
14. Panama Eusebio Pedroza 18
14. Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez 18

Most wins in title fights[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Title bout wins
1. United States Joe Louis 26
2. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 25
2. United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. 25
4. United States Bernard Hopkins 24
4. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 24
6. Mexico Ricardo López 22
6. United States Muhammad Ali 22
6. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 22
6. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 22
6. United States Virgil Hill 22
6. United States Henry Armstrong 22
6. United States Abe Attell 22
13. Mexico Julio César Chávez 21
14. United States Larry Holmes 20
14. Canada George Dixon 20

Title fight wins & beaten opponents — all champions[edit]

These lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note: WBA (Regular) champions are not included

Highest avg. of wins & beaten opponents[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Photo Name Division Recognition Avg. of wins & OB
1. Julio Cesar Chavez1 Champ.jpg Mexico Julio César Chávez Light welterweight
Lightweight
Super featherweight
WBC, IBF
WBA, WBC
WBC
31
2. Omar Andrés Narváez 2012.jpg Argentina Omar Narváez Super flyweight
Flyweight
WBO 27.5
3. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. cropped.jpg United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. Light middleweight
Welterweight
Light welterweight
Lightweight
Super featherweight
WBA, WBC
WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO
WBC
WBC
WBC
25
3. Boxing pictogram.svg Mexico Ricardo López Light flyweight
Minimumweight
IBF
WBA, WBC, WBO
25
5. Dariusz Michalczewski (2007).jpg Germany Dariusz Michalczewski Cruiserweight
Light heavyweight
WBO
WBA, IBF, WBO
24
5. Wladimir Klitschko 2010-2.jpg Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko Heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 24
7. Joe Louis cph.3b09981.jpg United States Joe Louis Heavyweight NYSAC, NBA 23.5
7. Bernard Hopkins at the Golovkin-Lemieux Press Conference (cropped).jpg United States Bernard Hopkins Light heavyweight
Middleweight
WBA, WBC, IBF
WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO
23.5
7. Oscar De La Hoya at Morongo Casino (cropped).jpg United States Oscar de la Hoya Middleweight
Light middleweight
Welterweight
Light welterweight
Lightweight
Super featherweight
WBA, WBC, WBO
WBC
WBC
WBC
IBF, WBO
WBO
23.5
10. Champion Roy Jones Jr. 2.jpg United States Roy Jones Jr. Heavyweight
Light heavyweight
Super middleweight
Middleweight
WBA
WBA, WBC, IBF
IBF
IBF
22
11. Muhammad Ali NYWTS.jpg United States Muhammad Ali Heavyweight WBA, WBC 21.5
11. Joe Calzaghe crop.jpg United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe Super middleweight WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO 21.5
11. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Mar. 2010.jpg Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Flyweight WBC 21.5
11. One Last Stand.jpg United States Virgil Hill Cruiserweight
Light heavyweight
WBA
WBA, WBC, IBF
21.5
15. Sven Ottke Lambertz 2017.jpg Germany Sven Ottke Super middleweight WBA, IBF 21

Most opponents beaten in title fights[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Beaten opponents
1. Mexico Julio César Chávez 31
2. Argentina Omar Narváez 27
3. Mexico Ricardo López 25
4. United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. 24
5. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 23
5. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 23
5. United States Bernard Hopkins 23
5. United States Oscar de la Hoya 23
9. United States Roy Jones Jr. 22
10. United States Joe Louis 21
10. United States Muhammad Ali 21
10. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 21
10. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 21
10. United States Virgil Hill 21
15. Germany Sven Ottke 20
15. Puerto Rico Félix Trinidad 20
15. Puerto Rico Miguel Cotto 20

Most wins in title fights[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Title bout wins
1. Mexico Julio César Chávez 31
2. Argentina Omar Narváez 28
3. United States Floyd Mayweather Jr. 26
3. United States Joe Louis 26
5. Mexico Ricardo López 25
5. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 25
5. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 25
8. United States Bernard Hopkins 24
8. United States Oscar de la Hoya 24
10. United States Roy Jones Jr. 22
10. United States Muhammad Ali 22
10. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 22
10. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 22
10. United States Virgil Hill 22
10. Germany Sven Ottke 22
10. United States Abe Attell 22
10. United States Henry Armstrong 22

Title streaks — The Ring/lineal champions[edit]

Though these lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921, they only include title streaks during which the champion captured The Ring or lineal title.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note: WBA (Regular) champions are not included

Highest avg. of defenses & beaten opponents[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Photo Name Division Recognition Avg. of defenses & BO
1. Joe Louis cph.3b09981.jpg United States Joe Louis Heavyweight NYSAC, NBA 22.5
2. Dariusz Michalczewski (2007).jpg Germany Dariusz Michalczewski Light heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 22
3. Boxing pictogram.svg Mexico Ricardo López Minimumweight WBA, WBC, WBO 21
4. Joe Calzaghe crop.jpg United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe Super middleweight WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO 20.5
5. Bernard Hopkins at the Golovkin-Lemieux Press Conference (cropped).jpg United States Bernard Hopkins Middleweight WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO 19.5
6. Larry Holmes 1979.jpg United States Larry Holmes Heavyweight WBC 19
7. Wladimir Klitschko 2010-2.jpg Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko Heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 17.5
8. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Mar. 2010.jpg Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Flyweight WBC 16.5
8. Wilfredo Gómez 2.jpg Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez Super bantamweight WBC 16.5
10. Henry Armstrong.jpg United States Henry Armstrong Welterweight
Lightweight
NBA, NYSAC 16
11. Pascual Perez - El Gráfico - 1948.jpg Argentina Pascual Pérez Flyweight NBA, NYSAC 15.5
12. WWE - Sheffield 020499 (47) zoom.jpg United Kingdom Naseem Hamed Featherweight WBC, IBF, WBO 15
13. Bob Foster 1972.jpg United States Bob Foster Light heavyweight WBA, WBC 14.5
14. AbeAtell1908.jpg United States Abe Attell Featherweight Universal 14
15. Joe Gans 1903.jpeg United States Joe Gans Lightweight Universal 13.5

Most opponents beaten consecutively in title defenses[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Beaten opponents
1. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 21
1. Mexico Ricardo López 21
3. United States Joe Louis 20
3. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 20
5. United States Bernard Hopkins 19
5. United States Larry Holmes 19
7. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 17
8. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 16
8. Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez 16
10. Argentina Pascual Pérez 15
10. United Kingdom Naseem Hamed 15
12. United States Bob Foster 14
13. United States Henry Armstrong 13
13. United States Joe Gans 13
15. Mexico Julio César Chávez 12
15. Panama Roberto Durán 12

Most consecutive title defenses[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Title defenses
1. United States Joe Louis 25
2. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 23
3. Mexico Ricardo López 21
3. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 21
5. United States Bernard Hopkins 20
6. United States Larry Holmes 19
6. United States Henry Armstrong 19
8. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 18
8. United States Abe Attell 18
10. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 17
10. Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez 17
12. Argentina Pascual Pérez 16
13. United Kingdom Naseem Hamed 15
13. United States Bob Foster 15

Title streaks — all champions[edit]

These lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship fights after 1921.

Keys:

     Active title reign
     Reign has ended
Note: WBA (Regular) champions are not included

Highest avg. of defenses & beaten opponents[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Photo Name Division Recognition Avg. of defenses & BO
1. Joe Louis cph.3b09981.jpg United States Joe Louis Heavyweight NYSAC, NBA 22.5
2. Dariusz Michalczewski (2007).jpg Germany Dariusz Michalczewski Light heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 22
3. Boxing pictogram.svg Mexico Ricardo López Minimumweight WBA, WBC, WBO 21
4. Joe Calzaghe crop.jpg United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe Super middleweight WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO 20.5
4. Sven Ottke Lambertz 2017.jpg Germany Sven Ottke Super middleweight WBA, IBF 20.5
6. Bernard Hopkins at the Golovkin-Lemieux Press Conference (cropped).jpg United States Bernard Hopkins Middleweight WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO 19.5
7. Larry Holmes 1979.jpg United States Larry Holmes Heavyweight WBC 19
8. Boxing pictogram.svg Panama Eusebio Pedroza Featherweight WBA 18.5
8. Khaosai Galaxy.jpg Thailand Khaosai Galaxy Super flyweight WBA 18.5
10. Wladimir Klitschko 2010-2.jpg Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko Heavyweight WBA, IBF, WBO 17.5
10. Yohannes Christian John WBA champion.jpg Indonesia Chris John Featherweight WBA 17.5
12. Artur Grigorian 2001 stamp of Uzbekistan.jpg Uzbekistan Artur Grigorian Lightweight WBO 17
13. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam, Mar. 2010.jpg Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam Flyweight WBC 16.5
13. Wilfredo Gómez 2.jpg Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez Super bantamweight WBC 16.5
15. Henry Armstrong.jpg United States Henry Armstrong Welterweight
Lightweight
NBA, NYSAC 16

Most opponents beaten consecutively in title defenses[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Beaten opponents
1. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 21
1. Mexico Ricardo López 21
3. United States Joe Louis 20
3. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 20
3. Germany Sven Ottke 20
6. United States Bernard Hopkins 19
6. United States Larry Holmes 19
8. Panama Eusebio Pedroza 18
8. Thailand Khaosai Galaxy 18
10. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 17
10. Indonesia Chris John 17
10. Uzbekistan Artur Grigorian 17
13. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 16
13. Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez 16

Most consecutive title defenses[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Title defenses
1. United States Joe Louis 25
2. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski 23
3. Mexico Ricardo López 21
3. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe 21
3. Germany Sven Ottke 21
6. United States Bernard Hopkins 20
7. United States Larry Holmes 19
7. Panama Eusebio Pedroza 19
7. Thailand Khaosai Galaxy 19
7. United States Henry Armstrong 19
11. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko 18
11. Indonesia Chris John 18
11. United States Abe Attell 18
14. Uzbekistan Artur Grigorian 17
14. Thailand Pongsaklek Wonjongkam 17
14. Puerto Rico Wilfredo Gómez 17
14. South Korea Yuh Myung-woo 17

Longest individual title reigns[edit]

Below is a list of longest reigning champions in boxing measured by the individual's longest reign. Career total time as champion (for multiple time champions) does not apply. Neither does moving up in a weight class.

Keys:

     Active Title Reign
     Reign has ended
Note: WBA (Regular) champions are not included

Title reigns of The Ring/lineal champions[edit]

Though these lists do not include The Ring and lineal championship reigns after 1921, they only include title reigns during which the champion captured The Ring or lineal title.

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Weight class Title Reign Title Recognition
1. United States Joe Louis Heavyweight 11 years, 8 months, 8 days NBA, NYSAC
2. United States Johnny Kilbane Featherweight 11 years, 3 months, 24 days Universal-to-NBA, NYSAC
3. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe Super middleweight 10 years, 11 months, 22 days WBO
4. United States Bernard Hopkins Middleweight 10 years, 2 months, 18 days IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO
5. United States Abe Attell Featherweight 10 years Universal
6. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko Heavyweight 9 years, 7 months and 6 days WBA, IBF, WBO
7. United States Archie Moore Light heavyweight 9 years, 4 months, 24 days NYSAC, EBU
8. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski Light heavyweight 9 years, 1 months, 8 days IBF, WBA, WBO
9. Mexico Ricardo López Minimumweight 8 years, 11 months WBA, WBC, WBO
10. United States Tommy Ryan Middleweight 8 years, 7 months, 4 days Universal
11. United States Benny Leonard Lightweight 7 years, 7 months, 17 days Universal-to-NBA, NYSAC
12. United Kingdom Jimmy Wilde Flyweight 7 years, 4 months, 4 days Universal
13. United States Larry Holmes Heavyweight 7 years, 3 months, 12 days WBC-to-IBF
14. United States Jack Dempsey Heavyweight 7 years, 2 months, 19 days Universal-to-NBA, NYSAC
15. Panama Eusebio Pedroza Featherweight 7 years, 1 month, 23 days WBA
16. United States John L. Sullivan Heavyweight 7 years, 0 months, 9 days Universal
17. United States Sandy Saddler Featherweight 7 years Universal
18. United States Tony Zale Middleweight 6 years, 11 months, 24 days NBA, NYSAC
19. United States Roy Jones Jr Light heavyweight 6 years, 9 months, 8 days WBA, WBC, IBF
20. Argentina Carlos Monzon Middleweight 6 years, 9 months, 9 days WBA, WBC

Title reigns of all champions[edit]

As of October 17, 2018.

Name Weight class Title Reign Title Recognition
1. United States Joe Louis Heavyweight 11 years, 8 months, 8 days NBA, NYSAC
2. United States Johnny Kilbane Featherweight 11 years, 3 months, 24 days Universal-to-NBA, NYSAC
3. United Kingdom Joe Calzaghe Super middleweight 10 years, 11 months, 22 days WBO
4. United States Bernard Hopkins Middleweight 10 years, 2 months, 18 days IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO
5. Indonesia Chris John Featherweight 10 years, 1 month, 5 days WBA
6. United States Abe Attell Featherweight 10 years Universal
7. Ukraine Wladimir Klitschko Heavyweight 9 years, 7 months and 6 days WBA, IBF, WBO
8. United States Archie Moore Light heavyweight 9 years, 4 months, 24 days NYSAC, EBU
9. Germany Dariusz Michalczewski Light heavyweight 9 years, 1 months, 8 days IBF, WBA, WBO
10. Mexico Ricardo López Minimumweight 8 years, 11 months WBA, WBC, WBO
11. United States Tommy Ryan Middleweight 8 years, 7 months, 4 days Universal
12. Argentina Omar Andres Narvaez Flyweight 7 years, 10 months WBO
13. United States Benny Leonard Lightweight 7 years, 7 months, 17 days Universal-to-NBA, NYSAC
14. Uzbekistan Artur Grigorian Lightweight 7 years, 6 months, 20 days WBO
15. United Kingdom Johnny Nelson Cruiserweight 7 years, 5 months, 26 days WBO
16. United Kingdom Jimmy Wilde Flyweight 7 years, 4 months, 4 days Universal
17. United States Larry Holmes Heavyweight 7 years, 3 months, 12 days WBC-to-IBF
18. United States Jack Dempsey Heavyweight 7 years, 2 months, 19 days Universal-to-NBA, NYSAC
19. Panama Eusebio Pedroza Featherweight 7 years, 1 month, 23 days WBA
20. United States John L. Sullivan Heavyweight 7 years, 0 months, 9 days Universal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Morrison, pp.14–15
  2. ^ Morrison, Ian (1990). The Guinness World Championship Boxing book. Guinness Publishing. pp. 126–137. ISBN 0-85112-900-5.
  3. ^ "History of IBF/USBA". International Boxing Federation. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
  4. ^ "IBF/USBA History". IBF. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  5. ^ "The Ring updates championship policy". Ring TV. May 3, 2012.

External links[edit]