Key Differences Between the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO
Any casual observer would be in their rights to be confused about these different sanctioning organisations. There simply is no single authoritative boxing association able to determine a definitive single world champion, leading to all the organisations putting up their own champions with naturally each boxer claiming to be the best.
You will no doubt associate the phrase undisputed champion” to boxing though, and that only comes when a boxer has somehow mapped his way through the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO and successfully claimed all four belts. This is why you will often witness for example the WBC title holder taking on the WBO champ, both fighters putting their belts up for grabs with the winner able to claim both, thus unifying them. This happens quite a lot in the sport, but outright undisputed champions of the world are a much rarer thing, and this is especially true of the heavyweight division. In the past decade for example in the mens side of the sport, only Oleksander Usyk at cruiserweight and Terrence Crawford at light welterweight have held the title while over the same time period in the women’s game, just Katie Taylor (lightweight), Cecilia Brækhus (welterweight) and Claressa Shields at middleweight have done the same.Whereas in tennis or football the very best clubs or players are bound to meet each other at some point in competition, boxing being so heavily reliant on promotion and match-ups means often the best fighters either don’t meet while both in their prime or often never fight each other at all. This is because they regularly hold out for a better money deal for a big fight.
Top examples in the past being Aaron Pryor/Sugar Ray Leonard or Nigel Benn/Roy Jones Junior while the previously imperious Manny Pacquiao and Floyd “Money” Mayweather didn’t meet until after the two were beyond their best years. To help you with your boxing selections and sports wagering, the rest of this piece will guide you through some of the best boxers in each weight division and sanctioning organisation to help you understand this arguably unnecessarily complicated sport a little better.