With the entire combat sports industry picking up trend lately, boxing still holds the highest rank and maintains its popularity. This is due to its worldwide acceptance, naturalistic approach, accessibility to local clubs and long history converted into cultural values in some parts of the world.
This underlines that the enthusiasm and love for boxing paves way for many associations to exist simultaneously. Further owing to its popularity and financial gains these leagues exist without any order or hierarchy. Let us dive deeper into boxing, its current leagues and titles.
Boxing is a type of combat sport, wherein two players enter a square ring and throw heavy punches at each other for a calculated period of time. There are 3 to 12 rounds in a boxing bout, lasting roughly about 3 minutes each. The players inside the ring wear protective equipment like hand wraps, padded gloves and mouth guards for safety. It involves gauging your opponents moves and quickly responding in a manner that involves both speed and power.
History Of Boxing
Historically, initial visual evidence of boxing was found in Sumerian carvings from 3000 BC. But historians mark its roots back to the Greek era when it emerged as a formal Olympic game in the 23rd Olympiad, in 688 BC. Back then, boxing was referred to as ‘Pugilism’ and ‘Prize Fighting’. From there on, it has a long prevailing history leading to the foundation of other sports like Bare Knuckle Boxing, Muay Thai, Kickboxing, Lethwei, Savate and Sanda.
Modern day amateur boxing originated from Great Britain and spread rapidly around the globe shortly after leading to the creation of the first governing body in 1880 called the Amateur Boxing Association (ABA). This association, later the same year, held its first official amateur championship. In 1888, US also formed an association named as the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), and initiated annual championships in boxing.
The amateur boxing competition called the ‘Golden Gloves’ initiated by the Chicago Tribune later grew as a rival of the AAU. In 1978, Amateur Boxing Federation (ABF) came into existence, to keep AAU away from Amateur Boxing, as it was already governing other Olympic sports as well. The ABF is now known as the American Boxing Federation.
In the early 20th century, boxing became popular in the United States which became the hub of the sport. For many ethnic and racial groups that persisted back then, boxing became the key to social acceptance, fame and other monetary benefits. Jack Johnson, was the first African-American Boxer who won the heavyweight championship back in 1908.
Since then, many African Americans have dominated this sport. And have been pioneers of spreading the message of racial equality in the 20th century. This includes global icons such as Muhammad Ali, Thomas Hearns, Mike Tyson, Michael Spinks and Larry Holmes who during their reign as the best of the best, created history inside and outside of the ring.
Boxing Weight Divisions
Weight Classes were formed when boxing became very popular in the 19th century. The sole reason for the formation of these divisions is to establish a game of fairness. Previously, a boxer with heavy weight and outrageous power, had an unprecedented advantage over his/her competitor with lesser weight and bare physical build. This led to the formation of weight divisions, some of which originated in the United States and others in Great Britain.
The professional governing bodies now have recognized a total of 17 weight divisions in men’s boxing.
Wondering How Many Boxing Leagues Are There?
Well there’s a full list of Boxing organisations present today, which sanction and regulate bouts. With the emergence of so many boxing leagues, it has become a problem for many of the fans to untangle the complexities involved in understanding different boxing associations.
Also to understand how these associations operate, what functions do they perform, what hierarchy do they follow, who sponsors them and above all, which one is the most prestigious in the sport. To understand and differentiate, here’s a few things that might help you.
Basically, there are three governing bodies for boxing, namely, the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBOFC), European Boxing Union (EBU) and NEVADA State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
The main idea behind having governing bodies was to establish fair play and just decisions for boxing bouts. These have the responsibility of ensuring that everyone involved in boxing agrees with the predetermined set of rules.
Then comes the four sanctioning bodies. These are the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing council (WBC), World Boxing Organisation (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF). These four bodies recognize one another in their rankings and title unification rules. All four have the authority to arrange and regulate title bouts and award world titles.
Other than these, there are several boxing organisations. Namely, the International Boxing Organisation (IBO), International Boxing Association (AIBA) and Intercontinental Boxing Federation (IBF/USBA). All these have authority to regulate bouts but on a smaller level.
There are commonly seven boxing titles. Mainly given by the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF. Including the titles for Unified Championship, Undisputed Championship and Lineal Championship.
The WBC is the highest governing body and has held high profile bouts in the history of boxing. A WBC champion is considered to be a premier fighter, regardless of his/her weight class.
Whereas, WBA was the first to award world boxing titles in the year 1921. It arranged a fight between George Carpentier and Jack Dempsey. This bout was sanctioned in order to earn the world heavy-weight championship.
Ever heard about Manny Pacquiao? He was one of the greatest professional boxers of all time, nicknamed “PacMan”. He was the only one who won world Championships in eight different divisions. Similarly, Tyson Luke Fury, won the world champion title two times by WBC and was ranked as world’s best active heavyweight boxer by ESPN in the year 2022.
Not to forget, the great Floyd Mayweather who retired with an undefeated record and has secured 15 wins under his belt. He is one of the best defensive boxers in the history of boxing and the most accurate puncher to exist.
If you’re someone who idealises Floyd Mayweather, Tyson Fury and Manny Pacquiao, here is what you can do to improve your skills as a professional boxer. Here is the best boxing gear for professionals and amateurs alike by RDXSports.
Now that you have a relatively better idea about boxing, you can start your own journey towards becoming a champion.
Though the new trend that people follow for combat sports has diverted towards MMA. Nevertheless, even today, a large segment of people love Boxing more than any other sport. These enthusiasts have made efforts in preserving the glory of Boxing. And thus, a strong reason behind why even in today’s world, we have numerous boxing leagues, integrating thousands of boxers altogether.