World Boxing Association

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 IBF, WBC, and WBO. The WBA awards its world championship title at the professional level. Founded in the United States in 1921 by thirteen 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.

World Boxing Association
1921 (1921) (as NBA)

1962 (1962) (as WBA)

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

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 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 1921. The first bout it recognized was the Jack DempseyGeorges 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. 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 August 23, 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.


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.[4] In a 1982 interview, the promoter Bob Arum claimed that he had to pay off WBA officials to obtain rankings for his fighters.[5]

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 garnered some attention in 2015 when it continued ranking Ali Raymi in its flyweight rankings, despite Raymi, who worked as a colonel in the Yemeni military, having reportedly been killed by a Saudi airstrike that year. Ali Raymi was ranked Number 6 at the time of his death and Number 11 after his death.[6]

Super titles

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."[7][8] 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.[9]

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."[10] 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., Anselmo Moreno, and Manny Pacquiao are examples. The WBA will also promote their titlist to a "Super" champion when he successfully defends his title five times.[11]

As of 2017, the WBA continues to issue Regular titles, despite having previously stated that they would seek to reduce their number of titles to one per weight class.[12][13]

Man of Triumph

Since 2015, the WBA awards a customized version of their 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 Mayweather–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.[14] Other recipients of the custom Gold-plated belt are Anthony Joshua,[15] Vasyl Lomachenko,[16] Manny Pacquiao,[17] Oleksandr Usyk,[18] Canelo Álvarez[19] and Callum Smith.[20]

Current WBA world title holders

As of December 16, 2019.


World champions

Weight class: Champion: Reign began: Days
Mini flyweight  Thammanoon Niyomtrong (THA) June 29, 2016 1265
Light flyweight  Hiroto Kyoguchi (JPN) (Super Champion) December 31, 2018 350
 Carlos Cañizales (VEN) March 18, 2018 638
Flyweight  Artem Dalakian (UKR) February 24, 2018 660
Super flyweight  Kal Yafai (UK) December 10, 2016 1101
Bantamweight  Naoya Inoue (JPN) (Super Champion) November 7, 2019 39
Super bantamweight  Danny Roman (USA) (Super Champion) December 9, 2017 737
 Brandon Figueroa (USA) April 20, 2019 240
Featherweight  Léo Santa Cruz (MEX) (Super Champion) November 24, 2019
 Xu Can (CHN) January 26, 2019 324
Super featherweight Vacant
 Rene Alvarado (NIC) November 24, 2019 22
Lightweight  Vasyl Lomachenko (UKR)(Super Champion) May 12, 2018 583
Super lightweight  Josh Taylor (UK)(Super Champion) October 26, 2019 51
 Mario Barrios (USA) September 28, 2019 79
Welterweight  Manny Pacquiao (PHI) (Super Champion) July 20, 2019 149
 Alexander Besputin (RUS) November 30, 2019 16
Super welterweight  Julian Williams (USA) (Unified Champion) May 11, 2019 219
 Erislandy Lara (USA) August 31, 2019 107
Middleweight  Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez (MEX) (Super Champion) September 15, 2018 457
 Ryota Murata (JPN) July 12, 2019 157
Super middleweight  Callum Smith (UK) (Super Champion) September 28, 2018 444
 Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez (MEX) December 15, 2018 366
 John Ryder (GBR) (Interim champion) May 5, 2019 225
Light heavyweight  Dmitry Bivol (RUS) May 21, 2016 1304
 Dominic Boesel (GER) (Interim champion) November 16, 2019 30
Cruiserweight  Arsen Goulamirian (FRA) (Super Champion) May 31, 2019 199
Heavyweight  Anthony Joshua (UK) (Super Champion) December 7, 2019 9
 Manuel Charr (GER) November 25, 2017 751
 Trevor Bryan (USA) (Interim champion) August 11, 2018 492


World champions

Weight class: Champion: Reign began: Days
Light minimumweight (102 lbs) Vacant
Minimumweight (105 lbs)  Anabel Ortiz (MEX) July 23, 2013 2337
Light flyweight (108 lbs)  Yesica Bopp (ARG) June 20, 2009 3831
Flyweight (112 lbs)  Naoko Fujioka (JPN) March 13 2017 1008
Super flyweight (115 lbs)  Linda Lecca (PER) April 15, 2016 1340
Bantamweight (118 lbs)  Mayerlin Rivas (VEN) January 16, 2015 1795
Super bantamweight (122 lbs)  Liliana Palmera (COL) November 18 2017 758
Featherweight (126 lbs)  Jelena Mrdjenovich (CAN) March 11, 2016 1375
Super featherweight (130 lbs)  Choi Hyun-Mi (KOR) August 15, 2013 2314
Lightweight (135 lbs)  Katie Taylor (IRL) October 28 2017 779
Super lightweight (140 lbs)  Jessica McCaskill (USA) May 25, 2019 205
Welterweight (147 lbs)  Cecilia Brækhus (NOR) March 14, 2009 3929
Super welterweight (154 lbs)  Hanna Gabriel (CRC) June 18, 2016 1276
Middleweight (160 lbs)  Claressa Shields (USA) June 22, 2018 542
Super middleweight (168 lbs)  Alicia Napoleon (USA) March 3, 2018 653
Light heavyweight (+168 lbs) Uninaugurated

WBA affiliated organizations

  • WBA Asia
  • WBA Oceania
  • Federación Latinoamericana de Comisiones de Boxeo Profesional (WBA Fedelatin)
  • Federación Bolivariana de Boxeo (WBA Fedebol)
  • Federación Centroamericana de Boxeo (WBA Fedecentro)
  • Federación del Caribe de Boxeo (WBA Fedecaribe)
  • North American Boxing Association (NABA)

Transition of WBA titles


  1. Mullan, Harry (1996). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. London: Carlton Books. p. 121. ISBN 0-7858-0641-5.
  2. "Boxing Bodies: A Brief Chronology and Rundown". International Boxing Digest. 40 (1): 58. January 1998.
  3. "World Boxing Association History". WBA. Retrieved September 2, 2018.
  4. Heller, Peter (1988). Bad Intentions: The Mike Tyson Story. New York: New American Library. pp. 141–142. ISBN 0-688-10123-2.
  5. Mullan. The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Boxing. p. 122.
  6. "WBA ranking update leaves questions and criticism". Asian Boxing.
  7. "Super championships guidelines". WBA. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
  8. "WBA Super Championships". WBA. Retrieved February 11, 2009.
  9. "Official Ratings as of September 2008" (PDF). WBA. September 2008. p. 2. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 31, 2008. Retrieved November 14, 2008.
  10. "Official Web Site >> World Boxing Association". Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2012.
  11. Gabriel F. Cordero (November 30, 2012). ""Chocolatito" is the latest WBA super champion". Archived from the original on December 2, 2012. Retrieved November 30, 2012.
  12. "A Title Fight in Name Only -".
  13. "WBA orders Matthysse-Kiram, Barthelemy-Relikh II, Machado-Mensah".
  14. "WBA "Man of Triumph" Trophy".
  15. "WBA special belt for the Klitschko-Joshua".
  16. "Lomachenko and Linares Special Super Belt Made".
  17. "Paccquiao and Matthysse Special Super Belt Made".
  18. "Gilberto Jesus Mendoza will travel to Russia".
  19. "Boxing News: Special WBA belt for GGG-Canelo winner » December 4, 2019". September 14, 2017.
  20. "The WBA will make history in Saudi Arabia".
  21. "WBA Intercontinental Champions".
  22. "WBA International Champions".
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