An interim championship is an alternate title that is awarded by the four major sanctioning bodies of professional boxing (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO), and in other combat sports such as kickboxing and mixed martial arts.
Occasionally, the champion of a particular weight division is temporarily unable to defend his championship because of medical, legal, or other reasons that are beyond the competitor's control. When this case occurs, two highly ranked contenders may fight for an interim championship of the same weight division – leading to two champions existing in the same weight division simultaneously. Once the original champion is able to return, he must fight against the interim champion in a "unification bout." The winner of this contest is then deemed the "undisputed champion." If the original champion cannot return, or transfers to a different weight division, the interim champion becomes the undisputed champion.
Current interim championsEdit
- As of 20, July 2019
|Sanctioning body||Weight Class||Champion|
|WBA||Light Heavyweight||Marcus Browne|
|WBA||Super Middleweight||John Ryder|
|WBA||Super Bantamweight||Brandon Figueroa|
In the WWE, a complex situation arose with CM Punk during his reign with the WWE Championship in July 2011. Punk left the WWE with the championship the day after he won a championship match against John Cena at Money in the Bank, but returned to the promotion one week later while still holding the title. During this time, Punk was still recognized as champion while the championship was being defended by Rey Mysterio and later Cena on an interim basis; this resulted in Triple H ordering both Punk and Cena to compete in a unification match at SummerSlam. At the event, Punk (the recognized champion) defeated Cena (the interim champion) to become the undisputed champion; immediately after the match, Alberto del Rio cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and defeated Punk (who had been attacked by Kevin Nash) to win the WWE Championship.
- Tello, Craig (July 17, 2011). "CM Punk def. John Cena (New WWE Champion)". WWE. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
- "SmackDown results: Truth and Consequences". WWE. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
- "CM Punk def. John Cena; Alberto Del Rio cashed in Raw Money in the Bank briefcase (New Undisputed WWE Champion)". WWE. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- Jackson, Ron. "Flyweight champ wins 15th defence." SuperBoxing. URL accessed 3 August 2006.
- WBA officials. World Boxing Association World Championships Regulations. World Boxing Association. accessed 22 December 2014.