World Boxing Association

Last updated

World Boxing Association
World Boxing Association logo.jpg
WBA logo
1921;100 years ago (1921) (as NBA)

23 August 1962;58 years ago (1962-08-23) (as WBA)

TypeNon-profit institution
PurposeBoxing sanctioning organization
Headquarters Panama City, Panama
Region served
Gilberto Mendoza Jr.
Main organ
General Assembly

The World Boxing Association (WBA), formerly known as the National Boxing Association (NBA), is the oldest and one of four major organizations which sanction professional boxing bouts, alongside the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organization (WBO). The WBA awards its world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by 13 state representatives as the 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 had 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 WBC, IBF and WBO.


The World Boxing Association can be traced back to the original National Boxing Association, organized 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 13 American states, including Sam Milner, to counterbalance the influence that the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) wielded. The NBA and the NYSAC sometimes crowned different "world champions" in the same division, leading to confusion about who was the real champion. [1]

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." [2]

The NBA officially became the WBA on 23 August 1962. [3] Gilberto Mendoza was the President of the WBA from 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.


As has been the case with all major boxing sanctioning organizations, the WBA has been plagued with charges of corrupt practices. In a 1981 Sports Illustrated article, a boxing judge claimed he was influenced by WBA President Gilberto Mendoza to judge certain fighters competing for their titles more favorably. The same article also discussed a variety of bribes paid to WBA officials to obtain championship bout opportunities, or higher placement within the organization's rankings. [4] In a 1982 interview, boxing promoter Bob Arum claimed that he had to pay off WBA officials to obtain rankings for his fighters. [5] Further support for allegations of this nature came in the 1980s and 1990s as two other organizations would have similar corruption exposed, including the conviction and imprisonment of IBF President Bob Lee and Graciano Rocchigiani's successful civil prosecution of the WBC that resulted in the organization briefly filing for bankruptcy before reaching a settlement that saved it from collapse.

Fragmented championships

The WBA presently can recognize up to four world champions in any given weight division, to a point of rendering it technically impossible under certain conditions for a WBA world champion to even hold sole recognition from the organization as its champion in a division.

The most prominent designation is that of the WBA Super champion, which was created in 2000 following a suggestion by Lennox Lewis after he was forced to relinquish his WBA heavyweight title prior to his defense against Michael Grant. This distinction was initially reserved for WBA champions who are simultaneously recognized by the WBC, IBF or WBO. A WBA Super champion is afforded special consideration by the organization with respect to meeting mandatory defense obligations to maintain championship recognition, but it also has opened the door for the organization to recognize a separate world champion, commonly referred to as the Regular champion; creating confusion among fans as to who holds the de facto championship title. Some world champions have been upgraded to WBA Super champion status without winning another organization's title, among them Floyd Mayweather Jr., Chris John, Anselmo Moreno and Manny Pacquiao; or upon defending their WBA title five or more times. [6] Upon awarding a WBA Super championship, the regular world champion status is deemed vacant, whereupon it is filled by the organization as a separate championship. On March 5, 2021, Claressa Shields became the inaugural WBA Super women's champion at light middleweight.

The WBA further complicates this from time to time by recognizing an interim champion, ostensibly in cases where a designated world champion is, for some reason, prohibited from making a timely defense of their title. Under such conditions, the interim title holder is to be the next person to compete for one of the full championship titles once the champion is in a position to compete. In practice, however, this actually occurs rarely if ever and in 2019 the organization began awarding the WBA Gold title, for which no provision exists even within the organization's own governing documents. As of December 2019 for example, they simultaneously recognized a WBA Super champion (Anthony Joshua), WBA champion (Manuel Charr), WBA interim champion (Trevor Bryan) and WBA Gold champion (Robert Helenius) in the heavyweight division.

There have even been instances where different WBA world champions have defended versions of the same title, in the same weight class, on the same date in different events.

Boxer rankings

The organization has further garnered negative attention with respect to its ranking of boxers, in spite of having adopted a complex, documented rating formula in the 2000s. In 2015 for example, Ali Raymi had been rated number six when, in his service as a colonel in the Yemeni armed forces, he was killed. His death didn't significantly hinder his rating position in the WBA however, as in a subsequent ranking he had only dropped to number eleven. [7]

Man of Triumph belts

Since 2015, the WBA awards a customized version of their WBA Super champion belt to big fights involving a WBA championship. The WBA called this the Man of Triumph belt, named after the trophy awarded to the winner of the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fight. The plate of the belt has the images of the two boxers fighting. Floyd Mayweather Jr. received the first gold-plated version of the belt while Manny Pacquiao was awarded a one-time rhodium-plated version. [8] Other recipients of the custom gold-plated belt are Anthony Joshua, [9] Vasyl Lomachenko, [10] Manny Pacquiao, [11] Oleksandr Usyk, [12] Canelo Álvarez [13] and Callum Smith. [14]

Current WBA world title holders

As of 20 May 2021


Weight class:Champion:Reign began:Days:
Minimumweight Flag of Thailand.svg Thammanoon Niyomtrong (Super champion)29 June 20161802
Flag of the Philippines.svg Vic Saludar 20 February 2021105
Light flyweight Flag of Japan.svg Hiroto Kyoguchi (Super champion)31 December 2018887
Flag of Mexico.svg Esteban Bermudez 28 May 20218
Flag of Cuba.svg Daniel Matellon (Interim champion)7 February 2020484
Flyweight Flag of Ukraine.svg Artem Dalakian 24 February 20181197
Flag of Panama.svg Luis Concepción (Interim champion)7 February 2020484
Super flyweight Flag of Mexico.svg Juan Francisco Estrada (Super champion)13 March 202184
Flag of the United States.svg Joshua Franco 23 June 2020347
Bantamweight Flag of Japan.svg Naoya Inoue (Super champion)7 November 2019576
Flag of Cuba.svg Guillermo Rigondeaux 8 February 2020483
Super bantamweight Flag of Uzbekistan.svg Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Super champion)30 January 2020492
Flag of the United States.svg Brandon Figueroa 20 April 2019777
Flag of the United States.svg Ra'eese Aleem (Interim champion)23 January 2021133
Featherweight Flag of Mexico.svg Léo Santa Cruz (Super champion)28 January 2017
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg Xu Can 26 January 2019861
Flag of Mexico.svg Eduardo Ramirez (Interim champion)1 May 202135
Super featherweight Flag of the United States.svg Gervonta Davis (Super champion)31 October 2020217
Flag of Venezuela.svg Roger Gutiérrez 2 January 2021154
Flag of the United States.svg Chris Colbert (Interim champion)18 January 2020504
Lightweight Flag of the United States.svg Teófimo López (Super champion)17 October 2020231
Flag of the United States.svg Gervonta Davis 28 December 2019525
Flag of the United States.svg Rolando Romero (Interim champion)15 August 2020294
Super lightweight Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Josh Taylor (Super champion)26 October 2019588
Flag of the United States.svg Mario Barrios 28 September 2019616
Flag of the Dominican Republic.svg Alberto Puello (Interim champion)27 July 2019679
Welterweight Flag of Cuba.svg Yordenis Ugás (Super champion)29 January 2021127
Flag of the United States.svg Jamal James 4 February 2021121
Super welterweight Flag of the United States.svg Jermell Charlo (Super champion)26 September 2020252
Flag of the United States.svg Erislandy Lara 31 August 2019644
Middleweight Flag of Japan.svg Ryōta Murata (Super champion)5 January 2021151
Flag of the United States.svg Erislandy Lara 1 May 202135
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Chris Eubank Jr (Interim champion)7 December 2019546
Super middleweight Flag of Mexico.svg Canelo Álvarez (Super champion)19 December 2020168
Flag of Cuba.svg David Morrell 19 January 2021137
Light heavyweight Flag of Russia.svg Dmitry Bivol (Super champion)21 May 20161841
Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Jean Pascal 29 December 2019567
Flag of Germany.svg Robin Krasniqi (Interim champion)10 October 2020238
Cruiserweight Flag of France.svg Arsen Goulamirian (Super champion)31 May 2019736
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Ryad Merhy 29 January 2021127
Heavyweight Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Anthony Joshua (Super champion)7 December 2019546
Flag of the United States.svg Trevor Bryan 29 January 2021127
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Daniel Dubois (Interim champion)5 June 2021


Weight class:Champion:Reign began:Days:
Light minimumweight (102 lbs) Flag of Mexico.svg Monserrat Alarcón 31 August 20181009
Minimumweight (105 lbs) Flag of the United States.svg Seniesa Estrada 20 March 202177
Light flyweight (108 lbs) Flag of Argentina.svg Yésica Bopp (Super champion)30 September 2018979
Flag of Mexico.svg Guadalupe Bautista (Regular champion)12 December 2020175
Flag of Mexico.svg Jessica Nery Plata (Interim champion)14 April 20181148
Flyweight (112 lbs) Flag of Japan.svg Naoko Fujioka 13 March 20171545
Super flyweight (115 lbs) Flag of Mexico.svg Maribel Ramírez 19 May 20181113
Bantamweight (118 lbs) Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Shannon Courtenay 10 April 202156
Super bantamweight (122 lbs) Flag of Venezuela.svg Mayerlin Rivas 7 February 2020484
Flag of Argentina.svg Nazarena Romero
(Interim champion)
5 December 2020182
Featherweight (126 lbs) Flag of Mexico.svg Erika Cruz 22 April 202144
Super featherweight (130 lbs) Flag of South Korea.svg Choi Hyun-mi 15 August 20132851
Lightweight (135 lbs) Flag of Ireland.svg Katie Taylor 28 October 20171316
Super lightweight (140 lbs) Flag of the United States.svg Kali Reis 6 November 2020211
Welterweight (147 lbs) Flag of the United States.svg Jessica McCaskill 15 August 2020294
Super welterweight (154 lbs) Flag of the United States.svg Claressa Shields (Super champion)5 March 202192
Flag of Costa Rica.svg Hanna Gabriels (Regular champion)30 September 2018979
Flag of the United States.svg Raquel Miller (Interim champion)23 November 2019560
Middleweight (160 lbs) Flag of the United States.svg Claressa Shields 22 June 20181079
Super middleweight (168 lbs) Flag of Sweden.svg Elin Cederroos 10 January 2020512
Light heavyweight (168+ lbs)uninaugurated

Affiliated organizations

Transitions of WBA titles

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  5. Mullan. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. p. 122.
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  7. "WBA ranking update leaves questions and criticism". Asian Boxing.
  8. "WBA "Man of Triumph" Trophy".
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  10. "Lomachenko and Linares Special Super Belt Made".
  11. "Paccquiao and Matthysse Special Super Belt Made".
  12. "Gilberto Jesus Mendoza will travel to Russia".
  13. "Boxing News: Special WBA belt for GGG-Canelo winner » December 4, 2019". September 14, 2017.
  14. "The WBA will make history in Saudi Arabia".
  15. "WBA Intercontinental Champions".
  16. "WBA International Champions".