- This article is about a professional boxing organisation. For the blood component (WBC), see white blood cell. For the Auckland, New Zealand ska band, see The WBC.
The World Boxing Council (WBC) has operated since 1963 as a competitor to the World Boxing Association and, according to its founders, a way to improve professional boxing's standards. It is one of many organizations which sanction championship boxing bouts, alongside the IBF, WBO, and a dozen or so others.
Initially, representatives of 12 countries met in Mexico City during February 1963 to organize the WBC: The United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Panama, Peru, Brazil, Japan, Argentina, Spain, Great Britain, and the Philippines. That meeting was called by then Mexican President Adolfo López Mateos. At its apex, the WBC had relations with more than 170 countries, including Kuwait, where the first world title fight in an Arab country was held (in 1986).
The WBC's championship belt portrayed all of the flags of the countries represented in the organization, with the flags of the original 12 member nations displayed on the center of the belt along with a boxer raising his arm to indicate victory. The belt is considered a highly sought-after collector's item.
The WBC's relationship with other sanctioning bodies improved over time, with unification bouts being staged in various divisions. The exception to this was the World Boxing Organization, an organization that splintered from the WBA in 1988 - in any case where a WBO-recognized champion wished to fight for a WBC title, he had to surrender his WBO title, without any special considerations.
In 1983, the WBC took the unprecedented step of reducing the distance of its world championship bouts to 12 rounds - a move which other organizations soon followed in the interest of boxer safety.
Among those to have been recognized by the WBC as world champions were Wilfredo Benitez, Wilfredo Gomez, Julio Cesar Chavez, Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Salvador Sanchez, Hector 'Macho' Camacho, Marvin Hagler, Carlos Monzon, Roberto Duran, Juan Laporte, Félix Trinidad, Edwin Rosario, Mike Tyson, Alexis Arguello, Lennox Lewis and, on the female side Christy Martin and Laila Ali.
Former WBC Presidents include Mexicans Luis Spota and Ramon G. Velazquez , British Onslow Fane and the Philippines' Justiniano Montano . The organization's final president was Jose Sulaiman .
In 1998, Roy Jones Jr. announced he was relinquishing his WBC Light Heavyweight championship title. In response, the organization ordered a bout between Graciano Rocchigiani and former champion Michael Nunn , billing it as a world championship bout.
Rocchigiani won the fight and initially was awarded a belt and recognized by the WBC as its new Light Heavyweight champion. Jones, however, had a change of heart and petitioned the WBC for a reinstatement of his championship title. In a move that violated nearly a dozen of its own regulations, the WBC granted the reinstatement, sending Rocchigiani a letter advising that the WBC had committed a 'typographical error' and that he was not recognized as their champion.
Rocchigiani immediately filed a lawsuit against the WBC, claiming that the organization's actions both were contrary to their own rules, and were injurious to his earning potential due to diminished professional stature. On May 7, 2003, a New York City judge ruled in Rocchigiani's favor, awarding him $ 30 million in damages and reinstating him as a former WBC champion (Rocchigiani had lost a bout since winning the WBC title).
The following day, the WBC sought protection by filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Puerto Rico, in an obvious attempt to avoid paying Rocchigiani the award. The organization then spent the next thirteeen months attempting to negotiate a settlement with Rocchigiani, but to no avail.
On June 11, 2004, the WBC announced it would enter Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation proceedings, in effect ending its existence. This action prompted many in the boxing community to plead with Rocchigiani to settle the dispute, which he did in mid-July, 2004.
Other world organizations
- Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation (OPBF)
- North American Boxing Council (NABC)
- Europian Boxing Union (EBU)