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The World Boxing Council was initially established by 11 countries: the United Statesmarker, Argentinamarker, United Kingdommarker, Francemarker, Mexicomarker, Philippinesmarker, Panamamarker, Chilemarker, Perumarker, Venezuelamarker and Brazilmarker plus Puerto Rico, met in Mexico Citymarker on February 14, 1963, upon invitation of the then President of Mexico, Adolfo López Mateos, to form an international boxing organization that would achieve the unity of all commissions of the world to control the expansion of boxing.

The groups that historically had recognized several boxers as champions included the New York State Athletic Commission, the National Boxing Association, the European Boxing Union and the British Boxing Board of Control but these groups for the most part lacked the all-encompassing "international" status they boasted of.

The WBC is one of four major organizations recognized by IBHOFmarker which sanction world championship boxing bouts, alongside the IBF, WBA and WBO.


The WBC's green championship belt portrays the flags of all of the 161 countries of the organization; the flags of the original 12 member-nations are displayed on the belt’s ovular, gold center-plate (surrounding a boxer raising his arm in victory). All WBC World title belts look identical regardless of weight class; however, there are minor variations on the design for secondary and regionally-themed titles within the same weight class. A WBC Title belt is a highly sought-after collector's item.

The WBC has nine regional governing bodies affiliated with it, such as the North American Boxing Federation (NABF), the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF), the European Boxing Union (EBU) and the African Boxing Council (ABC).

Although rivals, the WBC's relationship with other sanctioning bodies has improved over time and there have even been talks of unification with the WBA. Unification bouts between WBC and other organizations' champions are becoming more common in recent years. Throughout its history, the WBC has allowed some its organization's champions to fight unification fights with champions of other organizations, although there were times it stepped in to prevent such fights. For many years, it also prevented its champions from holding the WBO belt. When a WBO-recognized champion wished to fight for a WBC championship, he had to abandon his WBO title first, without any special considerations. This, however, is no longer the case.

In 1983, the WBC took the unprecedented step of reducing the distance of its world championship bouts, from 15 rounds to 12—a move other organizations soon followed (for boxers' safety).

Among those to have been recognized by the WBC as world champions were Wilfredo Benitez, Wilfredo Gómez, Julio César Chávez, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Salvador Sanchez, Hector Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran, Juan Laporte, Felix Trinidad, Edwin Rosario, Alexis Arguello, Nigel Benn, Lennox Lewis, Erik Morales, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr.

The WBC bolstered the legitimacy of women’s boxing by recognizing fighters such as Christy Martin and Lucia Rijker as contenders for World Female titles in 16 weight divisions. The first WBC World Female Champion (on May 30, 2005) was super-bantamweight (limit of 122 lb. / 55.338 kg.) Mexican, Jackie Nava. With her former-champion father at ringside, Laila Ali won the super-middleweight (limit of 168 lb. / 76.204 kg.) title on June 11, 2005.

Former WBC presidents include Luis Spota and Ramon G. Velazquez of Mexico, Onslow Fane of Great Britain and Justiniano N. Montano, Jr. of the Philippines. The organization's current president is Jose Sulaiman.

WBC and popularity

Many in the boxing community have accused the WBC of bending its rules to suit powerful promoter Don King. As journalist Jack Newfield says, “...[WBC President Jose] Sulaiman became more King’s junior partner than his independent regulator.” Another journalist, Peter Heller, echoes that comment: “Sulaiman...became little more than an errand boy for Don King.” Heller also quotes British promoter Mickey Duff as saying, “My complaint is that Jose Sulaiman is not happy his friend Don King is the biggest promoter in boxing. Sulaiman will only be happy when Don King is the only promoter in boxing.”

The actions of the WBC give some credence to this charge. A partial list:

  • When Leon Spinks won the WBA and WBC Heavyweight championships from Muhammad Ali in 1978, the WBC stripped Leon Spinks of his title. Jose Sulaiman said the WBC did so because Spinks was signed for a rematch with Ali instead of fighting a Don King fighter, Ken Norton. Norton then defended the WBC title against another Don King fighter, Larry Holmes, who won the belt.
  • In 1983, WBC Super Featherweight champion Bobby Chacon was signed to fight the WBC’s mandatory challenger for his title, Cornelius Boza-Edwards. Promoter Don King, however, wanted his fighter, Hector Camacho, to fight for the title. Even though WBC rules said the mandatory challenger should receive a shot at the title, the WBC withdrew its sanction from the fight and then stripped Chacon for refusing to fight Camacho.
  • Under WBC rules, a fighter is supposed to defend his title against a mandatory challenger at least once a year. For fighters controlled by Don King, this rule is often ignored. Alexis Arguello, and Carlos Zarate, for instance, were allowed to ignore their obligations to their mandatory contenders while WBC champions.
  • While WBC Super Featherweight champion, Julio César Chávez wanted to fight top contender Roger Mayweather for a promoter other than Don King. The WBC withheld its sanction of the fight until Don King became promoter.
  • When Mike Tyson lost to James "Buster" Douglas during a WBC and WBA Heavyweight championship defense, Don King convinced the WBC (along with the WBA) to withhold recognition of Douglas as heavyweight champion. King claimed that Tyson had actually won the fight due to knocking down Douglas and the referee giving Douglas a “long count." Referee Octavio Meyran, in a sworn affidavit, claims that King threatened to have the WBC withhold payment of Meyran's hotel bill if Meyran did not support King's protest. Because of intense public pressure, both the WBA and WBC backed down and recognized Douglas as champion.
  • In 1992, the WBC threatened to strip Evander Holyfield of his title for defending it against Riddick Bowe instead of Razor Ruddock. Holyfield obtained a court order to stop the organization. In a taped deposition for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Holyfield stated that the WBC wanted him to defend his championship against Ruddock because Ruddock was managed by Don King.
  • During the 1990s, the WBC did not allow its champions to engage in unification bouts with WBO champions. However, in 1993, the Don King promoted super-middleweight showdown between WBC champion Nigel Benn and WBO champion Chris Eubank was recognized as a title unification fight by the WBC. Ironically, both men fought to a draw and each retained their respective titles.
  • When Mike Tyson was released from prison in 1995, the WBC installed him as their #1 contender for their heavyweight championship. Tyson had not fought in four years, but was promoted by Don King.
  • In 2000, King-promoted Julio César Chávez was the mandatory challenger for Kostya Tszyu's WBC super lightweight title. Chávez was the mandatory challenger though he had not fought at super lightweight for two years, had recently lost to journeyman boxer Willie Wise, and had not beaten a top contender since losing his first fight to Oscar de la Hoya in 1996.
  • In 2005, the WBC stripped Javier Castillejo of his super welterweight title for fighting Fernando Vargas instead of Don King-promoted Ricardo Mayorga. Mayorga somehow qualified for a shot at the super welterweight title despite the fact that he had never fought at that weight limit and had lost two of his last three fights.


In early 1998, Roy Jones, Jr. announced that he was relinquishing his WBC world Light Heavyweight Championship. In response, the organization ordered a bout between German contender Graciano Rocchigiani and former champion Michael Nunn to fill the vacancy, sanctioning it as a world championship match.

On March 21, 1998 Rocchigiani won the fight and a WBC belt; in the subsequent WBC rankings, he was listed as “Light-Heavyweight World Champion." Jones, however, had a change of heart and asked if the WBC would reinstate him as the champion. In a move that violated nearly a dozen of its own regulations, the WBC granted the reinstatement. Rocchigiani received a letter from the WBC advising that the publishing of his name as champion was a typographical error, and he had never really been the official titleholder.

Rocchigiani immediately filed a lawsuit against the WBC in a U.S. federal court, claiming that the organization's actions both were contrary to their own rules and injurious to his earning potential (due to diminished professional stature). On May 7, 2003, the judge ruled in Rocchigiani's favor, awarding him $30 million (U.S.) in damages and reinstating him as a former WBC Champion (Rocchigiani had lost a bout since his WBC Title match).

The following day, the WBC sought protection by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (i.e., corporate debt restructuring) in Puerto Rico. The organization then spent the next 13 months attempting to negotiate a six-figure settlement with Rocchigiani, but Rocchigiani did not at first accept.

On June 11, 2004, the WBC announced it would enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation (i.e., business closing and total asset sell-off) proceedings, effectively ending its existence. This action prompted some in the boxing community to plead with Rocchigiani to settle the dispute, which he did in mid-July 2004.


Like the WBA, IBF, and WBO, the WBC is almost universally criticized in the boxing community for its alleged corruption. Numerous contenders are considered unworthy of their respective rank by boxing critics and magazines. Likewise, many of its champions are not considered to be the world’s best fighters in their particular divisions. Of their current 17 recognized Champions, about eight are considered by most experts to be the theoretical “true champions” of their divisions.

Current WBC world title holders


Champions since 1920 of heavyweight boxing of 5 most important Associations.
Weight class: Champion: Date won:
Strawweight Oleydong Sithsamerchai November 29, 2007
Light flyweight Rodel Mayol November 21, 2009
Flyweight Koki Kameda November 29, 2009
Super flyweight Vic Darchinyan November 1, 2008
Bantamweight Hozumi Hasegawa April 16, 2005
Super bantamweight Toshiaki Nishioka August 4, 2007
Featherweight Elio Rojas July 14, 2009
Super featherweight Humberto Soto December 20, 2008
Lightweight Edwin Valero April 4, 2009
Super lightweight Devon Alexander August 1, 2009
Welterweight Andre Berto June 21, 2008
Super welterweight Sergio Martinez May 21, 2009
Middleweight Kelly Pavlik September 29, 2007
Super middleweight Carl Froch December 6, 2008
Light heavyweight Jean Pascal June 19, 2009
Cruiserweight Zsolt Erdei November 21, 2009
Heavyweight Vitali Klitschko October 11, 2008


Weight class: Champion: Date won:
Atomweight Momo Koseki 2009-05-02
Strawweight Anabel Ortiz 2009-10-31
Light flyweight Samson Sor Siriporn 2007-04-03
Flyweight Simona Galassi 2008-03-29
Super flyweight Ana María Torres 2009-02-28
Bantamweight Usanakorn Kokietgym 2009-10-05
Super bantamweight Marcela Acuña 2008-12-04
Featherweight Ina Menzer 2008-03-08
Super featherweight Olivia Gerula 2009-04-09
Lightweight Ann Saccurato 2007-09-27
Super lightweight Monica Silvina Acosta 2009-06-19
Welterweight Cecilia Brækhus 2009-03-14
Super welterweight Christy Martin 2009-09-02
Middleweight Wang Ya Nan 2008-01-26
Super middleweight Natascha Ragosina 2007-02-17
Light heavyweight Vacant
Cruiserweight Vacant
Heavyweight Vonda Ward 2007-02-10

See also

Other world organizations

Other world organizations

Affiliated organizations

Transitions of WBC titles

References and notes

External links

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