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 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.

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

1962; 59 years ago (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 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 championshipsEdit

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, formerly reserved for 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, the WBA 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. There are no WBA Super women's championships.

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 rankingsEdit

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 his corpse had only dropped to number eleven.[7]

Man of Triumph beltsEdit

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 holdersEdit

As of 13 January 2021


World championsEdit

Weight class: Champion: Reign began: Days:
Minimumweight   Thammanoon Niyomtrong (Super champion) 29 June 2016 1661
Light flyweight   Hiroto Kyoguchi (Super champion) 31 December 2018 746
  Carlos Cañizales 18 March 2018 1034
Flyweight   Artem Dalakian 24 February 2018 1056
Super flyweight   Román González (Super champion) 29 February 2020 321
  Joshua Franco 23 June 2020 206
Bantamweight   Naoya Inoue (Super champion) 7 November 2019 435
  Guillermo Rigondeaux 8 February 2020 342
Super bantamweight   Murodjon Akhmadaliev (Super champion) 30 January 2020 351
  Brandon Figueroa 20 April 2019 636
Featherweight   Léo Santa Cruz (Super champion) 28 January 2017
  Xu Can 26 January 2019 720
Super featherweight   Gervonta Davis (Super champion) 31 October 2020 76
  Roger Gutiérrez 2 January 2021 13
Lightweight   Teófimo López (Super champion) 17 October 2020 90
  Gervonta Davis 28 December 2019 384
Super lightweight   Josh Taylor (Super champion) 26 October 2019 447
  Mario Barrios 28 September 2019 475
Welterweight   Manny Pacquiao (Super champion) 20 July 2019 545
  Yordenis Ugás 6 September 2020 131
  Jamal James (Interim champion) 8 August 2020 160
Super welterweight   Jermell Charlo (Super champion) 26 September 2020 111
  Erislandy Lara 31 August 2019 503
Middleweight   Ryōta Murata (Super champion) 5 January 2021 10
  Chris Eubank Jr (Interim champion) 7 December 2019 405
Super middleweight   Canelo Álvarez (Super champion) 19 December 2020 27
  David Morrell (Interim champion) 8 August 2020 160
Light heavyweight   Dmitry Bivol (Super champion) 21 May 2016 1700
  Jean Pascal 29 December 2019 426
  Robin Krasniqi (Interim champion) 10 October 2020 97
Cruiserweight   Arsen Goulamirian (Super champion) 31 May 2019 595
Heavyweight   Anthony Joshua (Super champion) 7 December 2019 405
  Manuel Charr 25 November 2017 1147
  Trevor Bryan (Interim champion) 11 August 2018 888


World championsEdit

Weight class: Champion: Reign began: Days:
Light minimumweight (102 lbs) vacant
Minimumweight (105 lbs)   Anabel Ortiz 23 July 2013 2733
Light flyweight (108 lbs)   Yésica Bopp
(Super champion)
20 June 2009 4227
  Guadalupe Bautista (Regular champion) 12 December 2020 34
  Jessica Nery Plata
(Interim champion)
14 April 2018 1007
Flyweight (112 lbs)   Naoko Fujioka 13 March 2017 1404
Super flyweight (115 lbs)   Linda Lecca 15 April 2016 1736
Bantamweight (118 lbs)   Mayerlin Rivas 16 January 2015 2191
Super bantamweight (122 lbs)   Liliana Palmera 18 November 2017 1154
Featherweight (126 lbs)   Jelena Mrdjenovich 11 March 2016 1771
Super featherweight (130 lbs)   Choi Hyun-Mi 15 August 2013 2710
Lightweight (135 lbs)   Katie Taylor 28 October 2017 1175
Super lightweight (140 lbs) vacant
Welterweight (147 lbs)   Jessica McCaskill 15 August 2020 153
Super welterweight (154 lbs)   Hanna Gabriel 18 June 2016 1672
  Raquel Miller (Interim champion) 23 November 2019 419
Middleweight (160 lbs)   Claressa Shields 22 June 2018 938
Super middleweight (168 lbs)   Elin Cederroos 10 January 2020 371
Light heavyweight (168+ lbs) uninaugurated

Affiliated organizationsEdit

  • 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)

Transitions of WBA titlesEdit


  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. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "WBA ranking update leaves questions and criticism". Asian Boxing.
  8. ^ "WBA "Man of Triumph" Trophy".
  9. ^ "WBA special belt for the Klitschko-Joshua".
  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".

External linksEdit