The World Boxing Association, also known as the ‘WBA’, a boxing governing body established in the United States in 1921 under their original name of ‘NBA’ before renaming ‘WBA’ in 1962 to encompass the growing popularity of boxing globally & allowing additional members to join from around the world. The WBA is the oldest of the four most established & prominent governing bodies, the other 3 being the World Boxing Council (WBC), International Boxing Federation (IBF) & the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) but its rapidly becoming the laughing stock of the boxing world, a shady reminder of how wretched our sport of boxing can be at the most desolate of times.
Friday, January 29th - a fairly innocuous date by all intents & purposes to everyone except the ever eccentric promoter Don King who chose this date for a bill titled ‘ Return To Greatness’ topped by a ‘world title’ bout between defending ‘champion’ Manuel Charr & Trevor Bryan. The world title in question being the unheralded & undesired WBA ‘regular’ world title. This is where the absurd meets the downright ridiculous...
Manuel Charr holds exactly zero wins of note in a 35 fight career spanning almost 16 years & is mostly known for being bludgeoned to defeat by Vitali Klitschko in 2010, had not fought since 2017 when he picked up this secondary title that was vacant due to a multitude of promotional wrangles & a failed VADA test. ‘Diamond Boy’ encountered visa complications & wouldn’t make it to the USA, let alone make it to the ring in Florida to defend his world honours, instead the decision was made to name him ‘regular champion in recess’.
A short notice replacement was sourced to contest the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title bout with Bryan, himself without a fight since 2018. Up steps Bermaine Stiverne, a one time WBC tile holder. Stiverne is without a win since 2015, aged 42 & had suffered back to back knockout defeats in his two most recent fights one each to Deontay Wilder & Joe Joyce. How this run of ‘form’ befitted of any form of world title shot is beyond even the most unschooled of boxing fans.
Stiverne lost the fight, he was stopped the undefeated Bryan, knocked out in the 11th round of a totally lacklustre fight. As a result Bryan now holds the ‘regular’ title, Charr ‘the champion in recess status’, Robert Helenius the ‘Gold’ title & Anthony Joshua the ‘Super’ title, it’s an absurd array of useless straps (not including the ‘Super’ belt) that serve nothing more than a cash grab by the WBA by way of sanctioning fees, more belts means more pound notes, the WBA is centred around greed.
There’s not one single WBA ranked division in the male weight classes in which there’s just one recognised title holder, for every ‘super’ champion there’s an ‘interim’ or a ‘gold’ secondary equivalent, it’s a ludicrous situation, gone are the days an ‘interim’ world champion was an accolade used during a injury to the actual champion before the two face off to have an undisputed title holder.
This all begs the question, what can be done? How did we rid the sport of the farcical standing for which were currently observing? Quite simply we must refuse to acknowledge the worthless, nonsensical bejewelled pieces of leather the WBA give out like confetti. By the way the other leading governing bodies are not without shame either, one only has to the look at the comical explanation from Mauricio Suliman, the head of the WBC, in regards to the ‘Franchise’ status he currents implements, the IBF have themselves too been involved in some seriously murky spots & unfortunately there’s no signs of the mess being cleared up anytime soon.
Luke Carney of SimBoxx
In association with Clint Patrick