Organisations and Promoters
There are four major sanctioning bodies that are considered as “first-tier” organisations within professional boxing:
1. WBA – World Boxing Association
2. WBC – World Boxing Council
3. WBO – World Boxing Organisation
4. IBF – Internatinal Boxing Federation
Along with the big four, the “second-tier” sanctioning organisations, a large number of belts are now issued throughout the world, which has in the idea of “alphabet soup” which is the devaluing of titles through the proliferation of titles. If you think of it as supply and demand, if the supply increases, the rarity decreases and thus the value decreases.
In fact, many experts have linked the decline in the sport’s popularity to the increasing difficulty in the casual fan identifying who the best fighter in that division is. Right now there can be up to four world champions per weight class which is inherently confusing! Even if a boxer unifies two titles, doesn’t necessarily make him the best fighter…
The obvious response to this situation is the creation of one supra, all encompassing organisations but this isn’t realistic in theory due to politics and the money each organisation. What has happened instead, is the rise of unofficial “lineal” or linear titles such as The Ring which awards it’s divisional title when the #1 contender fighters the #2 or #3.
Although not perfect, this is certainly better than being confused by four champions. http://www.linealchamps.com/
For a list of world champions by weight division check out Wikipedia link.
Promoters have long played an integral role in the world of boxing, with Don King perhaps being the most famous one of all time. A promoter is basically responsible for organising and scheduling boxing matches for their stable of fighters, and in doing so they assume all the financial risk of the event which means naturally they’ll expect a large percentage of any profits…
I’m not sure if this has always been the case as I’m too young, but in recent years there appears to be a trend towards established boxers taking in promotional duties themselves, or co-promoting events with a company that bears their name. Whether or not this is merely a product of the boxer’s own inflated ego, or it makes financial sense remains to be seen, but as far as I can see into the future, promotional companies are around to stay for the foreseeable future.
Here is a succinct list and description of the biggest companies currently promoting boxing matches in the world:
US Based Promoters
• Goldenboy Promotions - Established in 2002 by Oscar De La Hoya and named after his nickname “The Golden Boy” after winning a Olympic gold Medal at the 1992 Olympics. It is currently one of the largest promotional companies in the world, and has already set numerous records such as pay-per-view records.
• Top Rank – Headed by Bob Arum, Top rank are one of the oldest boxing companies still going today, having been founded in 1973. As you can imagine, they’ve had their fair share of classic fighters on their books such as Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran, Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard and right now, Manny Pacquiao.
• Hennessy Sports – Mick Hennessy runs one of the smaller British outfits and has a exclusive promotional deal with Channel 5, which is free to air.
• Frank Maloney Promotions – Like Hennessy promotions, one of the smaller companies. Currently they have heavyweight prospect David Price, and there are calls for him to fight the Henessy Owned puncher, Tyson Fury, although the two can’t see to work together on this one!
• Match Room Boxing – Run by Eddie and Barry Hearn as a division of match room sport, they’ve come into increasingly prominence in recent years through the promotion of British favourite Carl Froch, and upcoming welter, Kell Brook.
• Sports Network – Run by boxing’s own Mr Marmite himself, Frank Warren. Fights are currently shown on Boxnation, a monthly subscription based channel, but his stable isn’t what it was – not quite the days of Calzaghe and Hatton.
• K2 Promotions – The company run by Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, usually bases events in Germany, to huge popularity.
• Sauerland Events – One of the larger boxing companies to come out Europe, promoting notable fighters such as Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham in the super six tournament.