Boxings international governing bodies Boxing provides an example of a sport where there is not one universally accepted governing body at least three bodies see themselves as the official world governing bodies. The World Boxing Association (WBA) is the oldest of these. It began life as the (USA) National Boxing Association (NBA) in 1921, and it was in 1962 that it adopted its present name, with its implicit claim to be the global governing body. The following year, however, representatives of 11 national boxing federations (including one from the United States) met to form a body which,
Boxings international governing bodies Boxing provides an example of a sport where there is not one universally accepted governing body at least three bodies see themselves as the official world governing bodies. The World Boxing Association (WBA) is the oldest of these. It began life as the (USA) National Boxing Association (NBA) in 1921, and it was in 1962 that it adopted its present name, with its implicit claim to be the global governing body. The following year, however, representatives of 11 national boxing federations (including one from the United States) met to form a body which, in the organisations own words, would achieve the unity of all commissions of the world to control the expansion of a sport which desperately needed it. This body was the World Boxing Council (WBC). Two of its founding members had sanctioned world title fights the European Boxing Union (and its forerunner, the International Boxing Union) since 1913, and the New York State Athletic Commission since 1920 as had the NBA. (Claims to be world champion predate these various formal titles however, going as far back as John L. Sullivan in 1885.) In 1976 the United States Boxing Association (USBA) was formed, when 24 US boxing Commissions decided it was time to form a new organization based in the United States and comprised of legitimate boxing commissioners from the United States and its territories. In some respects this filled a gap in US boxing governance following the internationalisation of the National Boxing Association, and in its early days the USBA served as a springboard for its boxers to the rankings of the World Boxing Association. In 1980 Robert W. Lee, Sr., then a vice-president of the WBA, stood unsuccessfully for the presidency of that organisation. He then sought to extend the influence of the USBA internationally, and in 1983 the USBA-I was formed, adopting the name International Boxing Federation (IBF) the following year. Lee remained heavily involved with the IBF until he was indicted on federal charges of racketeering, money laundering and tax fraud in 1999. In 1988 a group splintered off from the WBA to form the World Boxing Organization (WBO). In the publics eye the multiplicity of governing bodies is most noticeable in terms of the champions it recognises and the rankings they publish. A current list of champions at the various weights is maintained at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing_ champions. At most weights there are four different world champions, one from each of the four above organisations. At the time of writing, the current heavyweight champions were David Haye of the UK (WBA), Vitali Klitschko of the Ukraine (WBC), and his brother, Wladimir Klitschko (IBF and WBO). To add to this complexity, it should be noted that amateur boxing has an entirely separate international body, the Association Internationale de Boxe Amateur. Sources: Websites of the four bodies. Discussion questions 1 To what extent does boxing suffer as a sport through the proliferation of governing bodies? Are there any advantages to this atypical state of affairs? 2 Is the objective of unified titles an effective step in producing a unified body?
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