World Boxing Council
|Purpose||Boxing sanctioning organization|
|Headquarters||Mexico City, Mexico|
The World Boxing Council (WBC) is one of four major organizations which sanction world championship boxing bouts, alongside the International Boxing Federation (IBF), World Boxing Association (WBA) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) and one of the two original sanctioning bodies (along with the WBA). Many historically high-profile bouts have been sanctioned by the organization with various legendary fighters having been recognised as WBC World champions. All four organizations recognise the legitimacy of each other, and each have interwoven histories dating back several decades.
It was initially established by 11 countries: the United States, Puerto Rico, Argentina, United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Philippines, Panama, Chile, Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. Representatives met in Mexico City on 14 February 1963, upon invitation of Adolfo López Mateos, then President of Mexico, to form an international organization to unify 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 of the United States, the European Boxing Union and the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC); but for the most part, these groups lacked the all-encompassing 'international' status they claimed.
Today, it has 161 member countries. The current WBC president is Mauricio Sulaiman. Former presidents include Luis Spota and Ramon G. Velázquez of Mexico, Justiniano N. Montano, Jr. of the Philippines, and José Sulaimán of Mexico from 1975 until Sulaimán's death in 2014.
The WBC's green championship belt portrays the flags of all of the 161 member countries of the organization. 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.
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 of 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, following the death of Kim Duk-koo from injuries sustained in a 14-round fight against Ray Mancini, 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 the undefeated and undisputed champion (46-0) Joe Calzaghe, Floyd Mayweather Jr (50-0), Roy Jones, Jr., Wilfred Benítez, Wilfredo Gómez, Julio César Chávez, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, Salvador Sánchez, Héctor Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzón, Rodrigo Valdez, Roberto Durán, Juan Laporte, Félix Trinidad, Edwin Rosario, Bernard Hopkins, Alexis Argüello, Nigel Benn, Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Erik Morales, Miguel Cotto, Manny Pacquiao, Canelo Alvarez, Tony Bellew, and Mairis Briedis.
In its discretion, the WBC may designate and recognize, upon a two-thirds majority vote of their Board of Governors, one or more emeritus world champions in each weight class. Such a recognition is for life and is only bestowed upon present or past WBC world champions. The following boxers have earned the Emeritus Championship appellation throughout their careers: Lennox Lewis, Vitali Klitschko, Roy Jones Jr, Bernard Hopkins (Honorary Champion), Mikkel Kessler, Sergio Gabriel Martínez, Floyd Mayweather Jr, Kostya Tszyu, Manny Pacquiao, Danny García, Érik Morales, Toshiaki Nishioka, Vic Darchinyan, Édgar Sosa and Tony Bellew. During the WBC's 51st Convention in Bangkok, Thailand, Floyd Mayweather was named "Supreme Champion", a designation that nobody before him has ever achieved.
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 30 May 2005) was the super-bantamweight Jackie Nava from Mexico. With her former-champion father at ringside, Laila Ali won the super-middleweight title on 11 June 2005.
The WBC has also created a "Silver" world title in 2010. Justin Savi was the first to win it on 16 April 2010, fighting against Cyril Thomas in France. The Silver title was created as a replacement to the interim title. But unlike its predecessor, a boxer holding the Silver title cannot inherit the full title vacated by the champion. The WBC continues to recognize Interim and Silver champions, as well as Interim Silver champions.
In September 2009, the WBC created its new "Diamond Championship" belt. This belt was created as an honorary championship exclusively to award the winner of a historic fight between two high-profile and elite boxers. The inaugural Diamond Belt was awarded on 14 November 2009 to Manny Pacquiao, who won his sixth world title (in 5 different divisions) via a 12th-round technical knockout (TKO) over Miguel Cotto at welterweight in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Other holders of this title have included Callum Smith (super middleweight), Bernard Hopkins (light heavyweight), Sergio Martínez and Saúl Álvarez (middleweight), Floyd Mayweather, Jr. (super welterweight), Nonito Donaire (super bantamweight), Léo Santa Cruz (featherweight), Jean Pascal, Sergey Kovalev (light heavyweight), Mikey Garcia (super lightweight) and Jorge Linares (lightweight). Although this title can be defended, it is not a mandatory requirement. The title can also be vacated in the case of a fighter's long-term absence or retirement from boxing.
WBC Eternal Championship is an honorary title awarded to dominant champions that have never lost a world title, and retired undefeated while having a solid number of successful title defenses. Jiselle Salandy was awarded the Eternal title as she defended the WBC female super welterweight title five times before her death on January 4, 2009. On December 12, 2016, Vitali Klitschko was recognized as "Eternal Champion", as he had ten successful WBC heavyweight title defenses during his career before his retirement in 2013 and has never been knocked down throughout his career.
In early 1998, Roy Jones, Jr. announced that he was relinquishing his WBC light heavyweight title. In response, the WBC ordered a bout between Graciano Rocchigiani from Germany and the former champion Michael Nunn to fill the vacancy, sanctioning it as a world championship match. On 21 March 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 publication of his name as champion was a typographical error, and he had never been the official title holder.
Rocchigiani immediately filed a lawsuit against the WBC in a U.S. federal court, claiming that the organization's actions were both contrary to their own rules, and injurious to his earning potential (due to diminished professional stature). On 7 May 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 spent the next 13 months trying to negotiate a six-figure settlement with Rocchigiani, but the fighter at first rejected the proposal.
On 11 June 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. The WBC continues.
Many in the boxing community have accused the WBC of bending its rules to suit the powerful boxing promoter Don King. The journalist Jack Newfield wrote, "...[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 quotes British promoter Mickey Duff as saying, "My complaint is that José Sulaimán 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."
Newfield and Heller take issue with the following actions of the WBC:
- When Leon Spinks won the WBA and WBC Heavyweight championships from Muhammad Ali in 1978, the WBC stripped Leon Spinks of his title. José Sulaimán said the WBC did so because Spinks was signed for a rematch with Ali instead of fighting a Don King fighter, Ken Norton. Norton 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 Cornelius Boza Edwards, the WBC's mandatory challenger for his title. But, the promoter Don King wanted his fighter, Héctor Camacho, to fight for the title. Although WBC rules said the mandatory challenger should receive a shot at the title, the WBC withdrew its sanction from the fight. It stripped Chacon of his title 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. For instance, as WBC champions, Alexis Argüello and Carlos Zarate, were allowed to ignore their obligations to their mandatory contenders.
- 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 an IBF, WBC and WBA Heavyweight championship defense, King convinced the WBC (along with the WBA) to withhold recognition of Douglas as heavyweight champion. King claimed that Tyson had won the fight due to knocking down Douglas, and the referee's giving Douglas a "long count". The referee Octavio Meyran, in an 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 United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Holyfield said that the WBC wanted him to defend his championship against Ruddock because Ruddock was managed by King.
- During the 1990s, the WBC did not allow its champions to engage in unification bouts with WBO champions. However, in 1993, the super-middleweight showdown between WBC champion Nigel Benn and WBO champion Chris Eubank, promoted by Don King, was recognized as a title unification fight by the WBC. Each champion fought to a draw in his bout 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 1993, Julio César Chávez, managed & promoted by Don King, got a majority draw against Pernell Whitaker in their WBC welterweight title fight in San Antonio, Texas. Virtually every ringside observer and boxing analyst had Whitaker winning at least 8 or 9 of the 12 round fight, and CompuBox statistics showed Whitaker outlanding Chavez by a wide margin. But two of the three judges had the fight scored even. The fight was promoted by King, and 2 of the judges were not appointed by the state's boxing commission (in this case, Texas) like any other time; instead, they were appointed by the WBC. It had been reported that Don King had a hand in helping to secure the WBC judges for the fight. To this day, the resulting draw is considered one of the most controversial decisions ever.
- In 2000, Chávez, still promoted by King, was the mandatory challenger for Kostya Tszyu's WBC super lightweight title. Chávez did not appear to satisfy requirements for a mandatory challenger: 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 Ricardo Mayorga, a fighter promoted by Don King. The WBC qualified Mayorga for a shot at the super welterweight title although he had never fought at that weight limit and had lost two of his last three fights.
2018 Heavyweight Mandatory
On 24 March 2018 the No. 1 WBC ranked heavyweight and WBC Silver Champion Dillian Whyte defeated the former WBA Heavyweight Champion Lucas Browne to consolidate his position as mandatory to the current WBC Heavyweight title holder Deontay Wilder. However, the following month the WBC announced Dominic Breazeale as the heavyweight mandatory despite previously stating his latest bout against Eric Molina was not an eliminator. Further to this announcement the WBC also ordered an eliminator between Dillian Whyte and Luis Ortiz, despite Whyte already having fought his way to the No.1 spot with WBC. This resulted in widespread criticism of the WBC and Dillian Whytes promoter Eddie Hearn will be challenging this decision.
Current WBC world title holders
As of September 9, 2018.
- Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF)
- North American Boxing Federation (NABF)
- European Boxing Union (EBU)
- Asian Boxing Council (ABCO)
- African Boxing Union (ABU)
- United States National Boxing Council (USNBC)
- Caribbean Boxing Federation (CABOFE)
- Central American Boxing Federation (FECARBOX)
- CIS and Slovenian Boxing Bureau (CISBB)
- South American Continental Boxing Federation (FECONSUR)
- Hispanic World Boxing Association (ABMH)
- World Boxing Council Muaythai (WBC Muaythai)
Transitions of WBC titles
- "WBC May Replace Interim-Titles With "Silver Titles" - Boxing News". boxingscene.com.
- "Concepcion-Narvaez will meet for interim WBC silver belt in Panama". Boxing News.
- "Allotey wins WBC International Silver belt". Boxing News.
- "WBC Diamond Belt Presentation". Fightnews. Retrieved 2009-09-08.
- Newfield, Jack (1995). Only In America. New York, New York: William & Morrow Co. p. 141. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
- Heller, Peter (1988). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. New York, New York: New American Library. p. 143. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
- Sugar, Bert (October 1990). "In This Corner". Boxing Illustrated. 32 (8): 4.
- Heaney, John (December 1992). "The Senate Investigation: Much Ado About Nothing". Boxing Illustrated. 35 (10): 38.
- Nigel Benn vs. Chris Eubank
- "Oscar Time : It wasn't an award-winning performance, but Oscar De La Hoya took Pernell Whitaker's welterweight title". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.