Wednesday, October 20

Undisputed vs. Unified: Explaining the Different Types of Boxing Champions

WBC and WBO junior welterweight champion José Ramírez and IBF and WBA (Super) champion Josh Taylor will battle Saturday night in Las Vegas to determine who is the undisputed welterweight champion. junior. The winner will be the fifth undisputed champion in the four belt era and second in the division since Terence Crawford accomplished the feat in 2017.

Finding out who the world champions are in boxing has become tricky for the casual fan. There are multiple belts in each division and things can get quite complicated when it comes to figuring out what the difference is between a “unified” champion and an “undisputed” champion.

Before 1960, most boxing champions were considered “undisputed” because there was only one champion in each weight class. But as the popularity of the sport grew, so did the number of boxing organizations that would crown their own champions. This led to many disputes over who was recognized as the “real” world champion with fighters moving up and down the weight class, boxing politics coming into play, and various other reasons. Until 2004, there were three main sanctioning bodies in boxing: the World Boxing Association (WBA), the World Boxing Council (WBC), and the International Boxing Federation (IBF).

A fourth was added in 2004 when the World Boxing Organization was recognized by the WBC on its ranking lists.

And the era of the four belts was upon us in boxing.

Since 2004, there have only been four male wrestlers who have held all four major sanctioning body titles in the same weight class.

  • Oleksandr Usyk (cruiserweight)
  • Bernard Hopkins (middleweight)
  • Jermain Taylor (middleweight)
  • Terence Crawford (junior welterweight)

But there have been many fighters who have held two or more of the top sanctioning titles in a division.

Both Ramirez and Taylor are unified champions with two belts between them. But after they meet, there will only be one champion, and that individual will be recognized as the undisputed junior welterweight champion of the world.

What is a unified champion?

A unified champion is one who owns two or more of the major sanctioning titles in a division:

Who are the unified boxing champions?

Current unified champions include:

  • Heavyweight: Anthony Joshua – IBF, WBA (super), WBO
  • Light Heavyweight: Artur Beterbiev – IBF, WBC
  • Super middleweight: Canelo Alvarez – WBA (super), WBC, WBO
  • Junior middleweight: Jermell Charlo – IBF, WBA (super), WBC
  • Welterweight: Errol Spence Jr. – IBF, WBC
  • Junior welterweight: José Ramírez – WBC, WBO
  • Junior welterweight: Josh Taylor – IBF, WBA (super)
  • Lightweight: Teofimo Lopez – IBF, WBA (super), WBO
  • Super bantamweight: Murodjon Akhmadaliev – IFB, WBA (super)
  • Bantamweight: Naoya Inoue – IBF, WBA (super)

What is an undisputed champion?

An undisputed champion is a fighter who owns all four of the main championship belts (IBF, WBA, WBC, and WBO) in a division.

It’s a rare feat that only eight fighters have accomplished in the four-belt era, four men and four women.

Undisputed men’s boxing champions

  • Oleksandr Usyk (cruiserweight)
  • Bernard Hopkins (middleweight)
  • Jermain Taylor (middleweight)
  • Terence Crawford (junior welterweight)

Undisputed female boxing champions

  • Claressa Shields (middleweight)
  • Cecilia Braekhus (welterweight)
  • Jessica McCaskill (welterweight)
  • Katie Taylor (lightweight)

We may see three new undisputed champions crowned in 2021 with Taylor-Ramirez in the junior welterweight division, WBC, WBO and WBA (Super) champion Canelo Alvarez targeting a fall showdown with IBF champion Caleb. Plant to determine the first undisputed super middleweight champion. and a possible undisputed heavyweight clash between WBC champion Tyson Fury and WBA (Super), IBF and WBO champion Anthony Joshua later this year.

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