EXPLAINED: How four of the current 31 WBA title holders compete in the cruiserweight division
Fans are pretty sick of broken promises over world titles of late as boxing is shrouded in controversy with the addition of belt after belt being drafted in.
Most people over the last twenty years have only recognized five organizations in total; the World Boxing Council, International Boxing Federation, International Boxing Organization, World Boxing Organization and the most antagonizing of all – the World Boxing Association.
As far back as February of 2013, WBA President Gilberto Mendoza informed WBN the body would consider scrapping their ‘super’ titles, although a full five years on those straps are as prominent as ever.
A promise to merge the ‘super’ and ‘regular’ has come and gone, whilst you only have to look at the cruiserweight division for a prime example of what the WBA’s addition of belts has done to cloud the championship waters.
Four boxers currently lay claim to some sort of title at 200 pounds, with Aleksandr Usyk labelled the ‘super’ champion, Beibut Shumenov the ‘regular’ holder, Arsen Goulamirian the ‘interim’ ruler and Denis Lebedev somehow the ‘Champion in Recess’ despite losing a title fight to Murat Gassiev which the WBA decided to retract their title from.
You wouldn’t blame anybody for assuming that sanctioning fees played a part in the decision to have so many opportunities for fighters to lay claim to a strap, although only WBA President Mendoza himself can answer why his organization are not doing more to stamp out the confusing situation.
There are currently an astonishing 31 belt holders through the 17 weight classes, that’s without including International or InterContinental champions – of which there are two per division.
Asian, Continental, Oceania and Latino trinkets also gain a WBA ranking for those who manage to get one around their waists, meaning there are a ton of chances for the WBA to continue handing out prizes.
Only the IBF and IBO currently have a system in place to have one champion without an interim version on offer, whilst the WBC have moved to clarify the Silver belt is simply a stepping stone to a full title shot down the line.
All in all, the climate doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, and as long as promoters need a title on the line to help sell their show, many of boxing’s main governing bodies will continue to come up with any belt needed to help the situation.
Making the best fights out there just doesn’t seem to be enough anymore.
Current WBA title holders:
HEAVYWEIGHT – OVER 200 LBS / OVER 90.71 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION ANTHONY JOSHUA GBR
WBA WORLD CHAMPION MANUEL CHARR SYR
CRUISERWEIGHT- 200 LBS / 90.71 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION OLEKSANDR USYK UKR
WBA WORLD CHAMPION BEIBUT SHUMENOV KAZ
CHAMPION IN RECESS DENIS LEBEDEV RUS
(ARSEN GOULAMIRIAN INTERIM CHAMP ARM)
LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT – 175 LBS / 79.38 KGS
WBA WORLD CHAMPION DMITRY BIVOL RUS
SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT – 168 LBS /76.20 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION GEORGE GROVES GBR
WBA WORLD CHAMPION ROCKY FIELDING GBR
MIDDLEWEIGHT – 160 LBS / 72.58 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION GENNADY GOLOVKIN KAZ
WBA WORLD CHAMPION RYOTA MURATA JPN
SUPER WELTERWEIGHT – 154 LBS/ 69.85) KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION JARRETT HURD USA
WBA WORLD CHAMPION BRIAN CARLOS CASTANO ARG
WELTERWEIGHT – 147 LBS / 66.68 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION KEITH THURMAN USA
WBA WORLD CHAMPION MANNY PACQUIAO PHI
SUPER LIGHTWEIGHT – 140 LBS / 63.50 KGS
WBA WORLD CHAMPION KIRYL RELIKH BLR
LIGHTWEIGHT – 135 LBS / 61.23 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION VASYL LOMACHENKO UKR
SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT – 130 LBS / 58.97 KG
WBA SUPER CHAMPION GERVONTA DAVIS USA
WBA WORLD CHAMPION ALBERTO MACHADO PUR
FEATHERWEIGHT – 126 LBS / 57.15 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION LEO SANTA CRUZ MEX
WBA WORLD CHAMPION JESUS M ROJAS PUR
(JHACK TEPORA INTERIM CHAMP PHI)
SUPER BANTAMWEIGHT – 122 LBS / 55.34 KGS
WBA WORLD CHAMPION DANIEL ROMAN USA
BANTAMWEIGHT – 118 LBS / 53.42 KGS
WBA UNIFIED CHAMPION RYAN BURNETT IRL
WBA WORLD CHAMPION NAOYA INOUE JPN
(REYMART GABALLO INTERIM CHAMP PHI)
SUPER FLYWEIGHT – 115 LBS / 52.16 KGS
WBA WORLD CHAMPION KHALID YAFAI GBR
FLYWEIGHT – 112 LBS / 50.80 KGS
WBA WORLD CHAMPION ARTEM DALAKIAN UKR
LIGHT FLYWEIGHT – 108 LBS / 48.99 KGS
WBA SUPER CHAMPION HEKKIE BUDLER RSA
WBA WORLD CHAMPION CARLOS CANIZALES VEN
MINI FLYWEIGHT – 105 LBS / 47.63 KGS
WBA WORLD CHAMPION THAMMANOON NIYOMTRONG THA
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay