Undisputed vs. unified: Explaining the different types of boxing champions

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Undisputed vs. unified: Explaining the different types of boxing champions


IBF and WBA (Super) junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor defeated WBC and WBO champ Jose Ramirez on May 22, to claim all four belts in the division.Taylor became the fifth undisputed champion in the four-belt era and second in the division since Terence Crawford accomplished the feat in 2017. 

Figuring out who the world champions are in boxing has become convoluted for the casual fan. There are a number of belts in each division and things can get quite complicated when trying to figure out what the difference is between a “unified” champion and an “undisputed” champion.

Before 1960, most of boxing’s champions were considered “undisputed” because there was only one champion in each weight class. But as the popularity of the sport grew, so did the number of boxing organizations that would crown their own champions. This led to many disputes over who was recognized as the “real” world champion with fighters moving up and down in weight class, boxing politics coming into play, and various other reasons. Up until 2004, there were three major sanctioning bodies in boxing: World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC) and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).  

A fourth was added in 2004 when the World Boxing Organization was recognized by the WBC in its ranking listings. 

And the four-belt era was upon us in boxing.

Since 2004, there have only been five men’s fighters who have held all four titles from major sanctioning bodies in the same weight class.

But there have been plenty of fighters who have held two or more of the major sanctioning titles in a division. 

A unified champion is one who holds two or more of the major sanctioning titles in a division:

Current unified champions include: 

An undisputed champion is a fighter who holds all four major championship belts (IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO) in a division. 

It’s a rare feat that has only been accomplished by nine fighters in the four-belt era, five men and four women. 

*current champion

*current champion

It’s possible that we see two other undisputed champions crowned in 2021 with WBC, WBO and WBA (Super) champion Canelo Alvarez targeting a fall showdown with IBF titleholder Caleb Plant to determine the first undisputed super middleweight champion, and a potential undisputed heavyweight clash between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBA (Super), IBF and WBO champ Anthony Joshua later this year. 


Article Found At – Sporting News

 


 

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