The World Boxing Association (WBA) is the oldest and one of four major organizations which sanction world championship boxing bouts, alongside the IBF, WBC, and WBO. The WBA awards the WBA world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by thirteen state representatives as the National Boxing Association (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 were 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 World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF), and World Boxing Organization (WBO).
The World Boxing Association can be traced back to the original National Boxing Association, organized in the United States in 1921. The first bout it recognized was the Jack Dempsey–Georges Carpentier Heavyweight Championship bout in New Jersey.
The NBA was formed by representatives from thirteen American states, including Sam Milner, to counterbalance the influence that the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) wielded in the boxing world. The NBA and the NYSAC sometimes crowned different world champions in the same division, leading to confusion about who was the real champion.
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."
Gilberto Mendoza from Venezuela was the President of the WBA since 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.
The WBA has been plagued with charges of corruption for years. In a 1981 Sports Illustrated article, a WBA judge claimed that he was influenced by the WBA president to support certain fighters. The same article also discussed a variety of bribes paid to WBA officials to obtain title fights or rankings with the organization. In a 1982 interview, the promoter Bob Arum claimed that he had to pay off WBA officials to obtain rankings for his fighters.
Though the "Super Champion" designation are for WBA champions who concurrently hold titles with the WBO, IBF and/or WBC, in some instances, the WBA has designated as "Super Champion" fighters with only the WBA title. (See below for the WBA's explanation of this.) This particular practice has come under scrutiny, as several boxing experts consider it a means for the organization to gain more sanctioning fees within each division.
The WBA recognises the title holders from the WBC, WBO, and IBF organisations. The WBA refers to a champion who holds two or more of these titles in the same weight class as a "Super Champion", "Unified Champion", or "Undisputed Champion". This applies even if the WBA title is not one of the titles held by the "Undisputed Champion." In September 2008 for example, Nate Campbell was recognized as the WBA's "Undisputed Champion" at lightweight due to holding the WBO and IBF titles as well, while the WBA's "Regular" champion was Yusuke Kobori.
If a fighter with multiple titles also holds the WBA's title, the fighter is promoted to "Super Champion" and the WBA title—which is then referred to as the "Regular" title—becomes vacant for competition by other WBA-ranked boxers. As a result, the WBA's official list of champions will often show a "WBA Super World Champion" and a "WBA World Champion" for the same weight class, instead of simply "WBA Champion." The WBA has even been known to recognize three different fighters as one form of champion or another in the same weight class ("Super", "Regular", and "interim champion"), and there have been occasions where two different WBA "World" champions have defended their own versions of the same title, in the same weight class, on the same night, in two different parts of the world.
A WBA champion may be promoted to "Super Champion" without winning another organization's title: Chris John, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and Anselmo Moreno are examples. The WBA will also promote their titlist to a "Super" champion when he successfully defends his title five times.
As of April 6, 2018.
|Weight class:||Champion:||Reign began:||Days|
|Minimumweight||Thammanoon Niyomtrong (THA)||June 29, 2016||646|
|Light flyweight||Ryoichi Taguchi (JPN) (Unified Champion)||December 31, 2014||1192|
|Flyweight||Artem Dalakian (UKR)||February 24, 2018||41|
|Super flyweight||Kal Yafai (UK)||December 10, 2016||482|
|Bantamweight||Ryan Burnett (UK) (Unified Champion)||October 21, 2017||167|
|Jamie McDonnell (UK)||May 31, 2014||1406|
|Super bantamweight||Danny Roman (USA)||December 9, 2017||118|
|Moises Flores (MEX) (Interim champion)||April 18, 2015||1084|
|Featherweight||Léo Santa Cruz (MEX) (Super Champion)||January 28, 2017||433|
|Abner Mares (MEX)||December 10, 2016||482|
|Jesús Rojas (PUR) (Interim champion)||September 16, 2017||203|
|Super featherweight||Alberto Machado (PUR)||October 21, 2017||167|
|Lightweight||Jorge Linares (VEN)||September 24, 2016||559|
|Super lightweight||Kiryl Relikh (BLR)||March 10, 2018||27|
|Welterweight||Keith Thurman (USA) (Super Champion)||November 2, 2016||520|
|Lucas Matthysse (ARG)||January 27, 2018||69|
|Super welterweight||Erislandy Lara (CUB) (Super Champion)||June 8, 2013||1763|
|Brian Castaño (ARG)||November 18, 2016||496|
|Middleweight||Gennady Golovkin (KAZ) (Super Champion)||October 14, 2010||2731|
|Ryōta Murata (JPN)||October 22, 2017||166|
|Super middleweight||George Groves (UK) (Super Champion)||May 27, 2017||314|
|Tyron Zeuge (GER)||November 5, 2016||517|
|Light heavyweight||Dmitry Bivol (RUS)||May 21, 2016||685|
|Cruiserweight||Murat Gassiev (RUS) (Unified Champion)||February 3, 2018||62|
|Heavyweight||Anthony Joshua (UK) (Super Champion)||April 31, 2017||342|
|Manuel Charr (GER)||November 25, 2017||132|
|Weight class:||Champion:||Reign began:||Days|
|Light minimumweight (102 lbs)||Vacant|
|Minimumweight (105 lbs)||Anabel Ortiz (MEX)||23 July 2013||1718|
|Light flyweight (108 lbs)||Yesica Bopp (ARG)||20 June 2009||3212|
|Flyweight (112 lbs)||Naoko Fujioka (JPN)||13 March 2017||389|
|Super flyweight (115 lbs)||Linda Lecca (PER)||15 April 2016||721|
|Bantamweight (118 lbs)||Mayerlin Rivas (VEN)||16 January 2015||1176|
|Super bantamweight (122 lbs)||Liliana Palmera (COL)||18 November 2017||139|
|Featherweight (126 lbs)||Jelena Mrdjenovich (CAN)||11 March 2016||756|
|Super featherweight (130 lbs)||Choi Hyun-Mi (KOR)||15 August 2013||1695|
|Lightweight (135 lbs)||Katie Taylor (IRL)||28 October 2017||160|
|Super lightweight (140 lbs)||Ana Laura Esteche (ARG)||18 January 2014||1539|
|Welterweight (147 lbs)||Cecilia Brækhus (NOR)||14 March 2009||3310|
|Super welterweight (154 lbs)||Hanna Gabriel (CRC)||18 June 2016||657|
|Middleweight (160 lbs)||Vacant|
|Super middleweight (168 lbs)||Vacant|
|Light heavyweight (+168 lbs)||Uninaugurated|
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