Winning gloves for boxing are a part of the protective equipment you might require when practicing this sport alongside free standing punching bags like the ones we recommend here and kickboxing bags (check out our review here). There are many people who decide to learn how to box, but how many of them go pro?
Professional boxing, otherwise known as prizefighting is regulated and sanctioned boxing. Boxing matches at this level are fought for a purse bid that is split between the fighters as determined by a contract. Most professional fights are overseen by a regulatory authority which is there to ensure the boxers’ safety.
Many high-profile matches get the endorsement of a sanctioning body, that awards championship belts, set the rules, and assigns the judges and referee. Unlike amateur boxing, professional bouts are longer and can last up to 12 rounds.
Furthermore, no protective headgear is permitted, and the pugilists are usually allowed to take substantial punishment before the match is halted. Throughout the twentieth century, professional boxing has enjoyed a much higher profile compared to amateur boxing.
However, there are countries in which professional boxing has been banned, like in Cuba, from 2017. It was the same for Sweden from 1970 until 2007, and Norway between 1981 and 2014.
At the beginning of the 20th century, most professional matches took place in the US and the UK, and the champions were recognized by popular consensus and expressed in the magazines of the day.
Among the best champions of the era were the unequaled heavyweight Jim Jeffries and Bob Fitzsimmons. Other notorious champions included light heavyweight Jack O’Brien and middleweight Tommy Ryan. Joe Gans became the first black American boxing champion in 1902.
In the past decade, a continuous decline was noticed in the popularity of boxing in the United States, marked by a crisis in the heavyweight category, and the increased competition in the Pay-Per-View market from MMA.
Still, this sport has grown in Germany and Eastern Europe, and it is also popular in Britain. This cultural variance can be observed in some of the changes in championship title holders, particularly in the upper weight category.
Nowadays, anyone can start to practice boxing. There is almost no city in this world that does not have at least one gym dedicated to this sport. However, only a few, very dedicated individuals make it professionally.
In the next part of our article, we are going to discuss the existing organizations that award a world title to boxing champions and which set the rules. The most important one is the World Boxing Association or WBA. It was founded in 1921 as the National Boxing Association or NBA.
The World Boxing Council or WBC was founded in 1963, in order to establish an international regulating body. The WBC is responsible for many of today’s safety measures in boxing.
Next, the International Boxing Federation or IBF was created in 1976 as the United States Boxing Association. In 1983, the organization founded an international division known as the United States Boxing Association-International. It was only in 1984 that it became the International Boxing Federation.
Founded in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the World Boxing Organization or WBO began its activity in 1988. This association’s motto is “dignity, democracy, honesty”.
The Ring is actually a boxing magazine that keeps its own version of the lineal championships. Its first publication was in the 1920s when the original title sequence began. Its titles were paused until 1989, and until 1992 in some divisions. The magazine began awarding titles again in 2001.
These are some of the main world organizations that award titles to boxing champions and set the rules in this sport. Besides these, there are many other national organizations in each country. Surely, there are many and even more professional boxers. Still, in this article, we are going to discuss the current worldwide champions.
Today’s World Champions
In the heavyweight category, which is for boxers of 200+ pounds, we have the Super champion from the United Kingdom, Anthony Joshua, Manuel Charr, a Regular champion from Syria, and from the United States Trevor Bryant, an Interim champion and Deontay Wilder. The titles regarding the type of champions can only be offered by the WBA and WBO.
The Cruiserweight class includes fighters who weigh 200 pounds. In this category, we have the Russian Super champion, Denis Lebedev, the Regular champion from Kazakhstan, Beibut Shumenov, the Polish Interim champion, Krzysztof Głowacki, and Oleksandr Usyk from Ukraine.
For fighters that weigh 175 pounds, there is the Light heavyweight division. This class is represented by the American Interim champion, Marcus Browne, Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, and Sergey Kovalev from Russia, and by Oleksandr Gvozdyk from Ukraine.
For the Super middleweight category which is for fighters weighing 168 pounds, we have more representatives. From the United Kingdom, we have the Super champion Callum Smith, John Ryder, an Interim champion, and Billy Joe Saunders.
From the United States, the list continues with Anthony Dirrell, David Benavidez, and Caleb Plant, while from Mexico, there is the Regular Champion, Canelo Álvarez.
When it comes to the Middleweight class, that is for representatives of 160 pounds, the list looks like the following: Canelo Alvarez, a Super champion from Mexico, and from the United States, the Regular champion Robert Brant, the Interim champion Jermall Charlo, and Demetrius Andrade.
Next, we have the Light middleweight category (154 pounds) with the American representatives Julian Williams (Super Champion), Tony Harrison, and Julian Williams, the Argentinian Regular Champion, Brian Castaño, and we should not forget to mention Jaime Munguia from Mexico.
The Welterweight class (147 pounds) has representatives from the United States such as Keith Thurman (Super champion), Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr., and Terence Crawford, while the Philippines is represented by the Regular Champion, Manny Pacquiao.
The Light welterweight division (140 pounds) has three American representatives, namely Regis Prograis, José Ramírez, and Maurice Hooker, and one from the United Kingdom, Josh Taylor.
Moving on, the Lightweight class (135 pounds) is represented by the Ukrainian Super champion, Vasyl Lomachenko, and Richard Commey from Ghana, while the Super featherweight category (130 pounds) has more representatives.
We have Gervonta Davis (Super champion), Andrew Cancio (Regular champion), and Tevin Farmer from the US, Miguel Berchelt from Mexico, and Masayuki Ito from Japan.
The Featherweight division (126 pounds) has Léo Santa Cruz, the Super champion and Óscar Valdez from Mexico, Xu Can, a Regular champion from China, Gary Russell Jr. from the US, and Josh Warrington from the UK.
For fighters of 122 pounds, there is the Super bantamweight category. Its representatives from the United States, are Brandon Figueroa (Interim champion) and Daniel Roman, from Mexico, Rey Vargas and Emanuel Navarrete, and from Japan, Tomoki Kameda (Interim Champion).
There is also the Bantamweight class (118 pounds) represented by Naoya Inoue and Takuma Inoue (Interim champions) from Japan, Nonito Donaire (Super champion) and John Riel Casimero from the Philippines, Nordine Oubaali from France, and Zolani Tete from South Africa.
The Super flyweight category (115 pounds) is represented by Khalid Yafai (UK), Juan Francisco Estrada (Mexico), and Jerwin Ancajas (Philippines), while the Flyweight class (112 pounds) has the following champions: Artem Dalakian (Ukraine), Charlie Edwards (United Kingdom), Moruti Mthalane (South Africa), and Kosei Tanaka (Japan).
Hiroto Kyoguchi, Super champion and Ken Shiro (Japan), Carlos Cañizales, Regular champion (Venezuela), Felix Alvarado (Nicaragua), and Ángel Acosta (Puerto Rico) represent the Light flyweight category (108 pounds).
The last boxing class is the Mini flyweight (105 pounds). Its representatives are Thammanoon Niyomtrong and Wanheng Menayothin from Thailand, Deejay Kriel from South Africa, and Vic Saludar from the Philippines.
How Many Professional Boxers Are There?
As you might have noticed, there are 17 weight categories, and there are at least four representatives for each class. You can easily do the math and realize how many fighters there are in the boxing world. And these are only the male world champions.