How does the boxing industry work

Tohuwabohu in the boxing industry

Half a century ago the world of boxing was still halfway okay, or at least it seemed manageable. Amateurs and professionals boxed in eight weight classes, the IBU professional association founded in 1911 resided in Paris and the amateur federation formed in 1920 in London.

Since the amateurs did not even dream of world championships, eight professionals were entitled to call themselves the only world champions, and boxing fans were familiar with their names. At the end of the century, hardly anyone is able to answer the question about the reigning world champions from memory - because their number has increased by 800 percent!

Because: Instead of eight, the professionals today count 17 weight classes. Since each of the four "world associations" (IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO) selects its world champion in each class, there are at least 68 men worldwide who can call themselves world champions.

The fact that there are only 65 names on the list of world champions at the moment is explained by the fact that some titles are vacant. “Laying down titles” is now part of the business, which is largely controlled by the managers. The WBC welterweight champion, the American Pernell Whitacker, made a trip to the light middleweight division and beat the WBA world champion Julio Cesar Vasquez (Argentina). After that he gave up the belt and took care of that- '

with for the possibility that his compatriots Daniels and Green could fight for the vacant title. The "Box-Sport" recently wrote about the situation: "With four equally strong world champions, the media and the organizers earn more money."

Also vacant is the IBF heavyweight title, which George Foreman (USA) controversially defended against the challenger Axel Schulz from Frankfurt / Oder. When the IBF then ordered a revenge match, the champion returned the title. Now on December 9th in Leipzig or Stuttgart between Schulz and Francis Botha (South Africa) it will be a question of the vacant world title.

By the way, Foreman was punished by the WBA World Federation at the end of April for the IBF World Cup fight against Schulz. Namely, he revoked his title. His manager Don King immediately made sure that two other of his protégés - Bruce Seidon and Tony Tucker - fought for the WBA belt. Seidon won by breaking off, but it was agreed at the ring that this decision had not been made by the referee, but by Don King, who expects Seidon to earn more.

In the first half of 1995 alone, 89 events were named "World Cup" - an inflation in the title business! Only last Saturday there were two World Cup title fights based on the WBC version at London's Wembley Stadium: the

in heavyweight, which Frank Bruno (England) won on points against defending champion Oliver McCall (USA), and in super middleweight, where Briton Nigel Benn won his title against Danny Ray Perez (USA) by knocking out. defended.

The current titleholders are spread over 21 countries: USA (20), Mexico (7), Thailand (4), Puerto Rico, Germany, Russia, Venezuela, England (3 each). Dominican Republic, Ghana, Japan, South Africa, France (2 each) and Wales, Netherlands, Colombia, Virgin Islands, Argentina, South Korea, Ireland and Scotland (1 each).

In Henry Maskes weight class, the light heavyweight, the Frankfurt is listed as IBF world champion, Virgil Hill (USA) wears the belt of the WBA, the French Fabrice Tiozzo that of the WBC and the Hamburg Dariusz Michalczewski that of the WBO.

It is also noticeable that the organizers in various countries have secured continuous income through the flood of titles. The Colombians dominate the light classes that are very popular with them - fly, super fly and bantamweight - while Mexico and Thailand dominate the scene in mini and light flyweight. It is rumored in initiated circles that a fifth world association is to be founded soon. It is entirely possible that the number of world champions will be in three digits before the end of the century.

KLAUS HUHN

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