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This is a list of current world boxing champions. Since at least John L. Sullivan, in the late 19th century, there have been world champions in professional boxing. The first of today's organizations to award a world title was the World Boxing Association (WBA), then known as the National Boxing Association (NBA), when it sanctioned its first title fight in 1921 between Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier for the world heavyweight championship.

There are now four major sanctioning bodies in professional boxing. The official rules and regulations of the World Boxing Association,[1] World Boxing Council (WBC),[2] International Boxing Federation (IBF),[3] and World Boxing Organization (WBO)[4] all recognize each other in their rankings and title unification rules. Each of these organizations sanction and regulate championship bouts and award world titles. American boxing magazine The Ring began awarding world titles in 1922.

There are seventeen weight divisions. To compete in a division, a boxer's weight must not exceed the upper limit. Manny Pacquiao has won world championships in eight different weight divisions, more than any other boxer. The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, held all four major titles in the heavyweight division from 2011 to 2013; they were the first brothers to hold versions of the heavyweight championship at the same time.[5]


When a champion, for reasons beyond his control such as an illness or injury, is unable to defend his title within the normal mandatory time, the sanctioning bodies may order an interim title bout and award the winner an interim championship. The WBA and WBC may change the status of their inactive champions to "Champion in Recess".

The World Boxing Association (WBA) was founded in 1921 as the National Boxing Association (NBA), a national regulating body of the United States. On August 23, 1962, the NBA became the WBA, which today has its head office in Panama.[6] According to WBA championship rules, when a champion also holds a title of one of the other three major sanctioning bodies in an equivalent weight division, that boxer is granted a special recognition of "Unified Champion", and is given more time between mandatory title defences. The WBA Championships Committee and President may also designate a champion as a "Super Champion" or "Undisputed Champion" in exceptional circumstances;[1] the standard WBA title is then vacated and contested between WBA-ranked contenders. When a WBA "Regular Champion" makes between five and ten successful defences, he may be granted the WBA "Super" title upon discretion of a vote of the WBA's board of governors.

The World Boxing Council (WBC) was founded in Mexico City, Mexico on February 14, 1963 in order to establish an international regulating body.[7] The WBC established many of today's safety measures in boxing, such as the standing eight count,[8] a limit of 12 rounds instead of 15, and additional weight divisions. More information about the WBC's titles including "Silver", "Diamond", "Emeritus", "Honorary", and "Supreme Champion" can be read at the WBC article.

The International Boxing Federation (IBF) originated in September 1976 as the United States Boxing Association (USBA) when American members of the WBA withdrew in order to legitimize boxing in the United States with "unbiased" ratings.[9] In April 1983, the organization established an international division that was known as the United States Boxing Association-International (USBA-I).[9] In May 1984, the New Jersey-based USBA-I was renamed and became the IBF.[9]

The World Boxing Organization (WBO) was founded in San Juan, Puerto Rico (which is a self-governing commonwealth of the United States) in 1988. In its early years the WBO's titles were not widely recognized. By 2012 when the Japan Boxing Commission officially recognized the governing body, it had gained similar status to the other three major sanctioning bodies. Its motto is "dignity, democracy, honesty."[10] When a WBO champion has reached "preeminent status", the WBO's Executive Committee may designate him as a "Super Champion".[11] However, this is only an honorary title and not the same as the WBA's policy of having separate "Super" and "Regular" champions. A WBO "Super Champion" cannot win or lose that recognition in the ring; it is merely awarded by the WBO.

The boxing magazine The Ring maintains its own version of the lineal championship. The original title sequence began from the magazine's first publication in the 1920s until its titles were placed on hiatus in 1989, continuing as late as 1992 in some divisions. When The Ring started awarding titles again in 2001, it did not calculate retrospective lineages to fill in the gap years, instead nominating a new champion.[12] Cyber Boxing Zone, a website dedicated to tracking lineal champions, commented in 2004 that "The Ring has forfeited its credibility by pulling names out of its ass to name fighters as champions".[13]

In 2007, The Ring was acquired by the owners of fight promoter Golden Boy Promotions,[14] which has publicized The Ring's world championships when they are at stake in fights it promotes (such as Joe Calzaghe vs. Roy Jones Jr. in 2008).[15] Since 2012, to reduce the number of vacant titles, The Ring allows fights between a number one or two contender; or alternatively a number three, four, or five contender to fill a vacant title. This has prompted further doubts about its credibility.[16][17][18] Some boxing journalists have been extremely critical of the new championship policy and state that if this new policy is followed, the Ring title will lose the credibility it once held.[19][20][21]

Current champions

The current champions in each weight division are listed below. Each champion's professional boxing record is shown in the following format: wins–losses–draws (knockout wins).

See also

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