WBF, WIBF & GBU Aim For Legitimacy In Womens Boxing

While meaningless titles of any description seem to be flooding the professional boxing world, simply for the financial gain of sanctioning bodies, the World Boxing Federation (WBF) has decided to go the opposite route in an attempt to reduce the abundance of titles.

To this effect, three of the most important sanctioning organizations in women’s boxing have merged to discontinue their individual championships in favor of one Unified Womens World Title ®. Besides the World Boxing Federation (WBF), they are the Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) and the Global Boxing Union (GBU).

Therefore, there will now be just one world champion in each weight division, recognized by the WBF, WIBF and GBU as the Unified Womens World Champion ®, but wearing the championship belts of all three organizations. No champion can defend only one (or two) of those belts, at stake will always be the unified title without any exceptions. The basis for this is that the WBF, WIBF and GBU have synchronized their Rules & Regulations and Rankings. Only one Sanction Fee will be levied as opposed to three. A new Women’s World Championship Committee with members from all three bodies has been formed as the final authority for sanctioning, vacating of titles and appeals.

WBF President Howard Goldberg from South Africa stated in unison with WIBF President Barbara Buttrick (USA) and GBU President Juergen Lutz of Germany: “It is high time that people understand that there are far too many token titles available and this should be remedied. Therefore, we have put the best interest of boxing ahead of sanction fees and ego – and now there is just one title in female boxing that means something: The Unified Womens World Title ®.”

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INTRODUCTION

Unified Womens World Championships ®

The Unified Womens World Titles were created in early 2015 in an attempt to counter the ever-increasing number of meaningless titles and finally bring back some order into female professional boxing. To this effect, three of the most important sanctioning organizations in women’s boxing have merged to discontinue their individual championships in favor of one Unified Womens World Title ®. They are the World Boxing Federation (WBF), the Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF) and the Global Boxing Union (GBU).

Therefore, there will now be just one world champion in each weight division, recognized by the WBF, WIBF and GBU as the Unified Womens World Champion ®, but wearing the championship belts of all three organizations. No champion can defend only one (or two) of those belts, at stake will always be the unified title without any exceptions. The basis for this is that the WBF, WIBF and GBU have synchronized their Rules & Regulations and Rankings. Only one Sanction Fee will be levied as opposed to three. A new Women’s World Championship Committee with members from all three bodies has been formed as the final authority for sanctioning, vacating of titles and appeals.

WBF President Howard Goldberg from South Africa stated in unison with WIBF President Barbara Buttrick (USA) and GBU President Juergen Lutz of Germany: “It is high time that people understand that there are far too many token titles available and this should be remedied. Therefore, we have put the best interest of boxing ahead of sanction fees and ego – and now there is just one title in female boxing that means something: The Unified Womens World Title ®.”

For a short introduction of the WBF, WIBF and GBU read on:

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World Boxing Federation (WBF)

Originally founded in the USA in 1988 by the late Larry Carrier, the WBF was – after a five-year interregnum period – finally re-established in 2009 as a non-profit sports organization in Luxembourg. Immediately, female boxing started to play a huge role in the sanctioning business of the WBF and a host of the sport’s biggest stars (from Holly Holm, to Anne Sophie Mathis, to Natascha Ragosina, to Delfine Persoon, to name just a few) quickly recognized the WBF as an outstanding federation for women’s boxing and proudly held their titles.

The current president responsible for the rise of the WBF is South African Howard Goldberg, formerly a world class referee. It is also Goldberg and his team who set new standards in terms of fair administration, which reflects strongly on the female side of the sport. This was highlighted in 2014 on two occasions: The WBF was the first organization to recognize that Anne Sophie Mathis had legally KO’d Christina Hammer and overruled the dubious referee’s call of awarding a DQ win to the knocked out boxer. And the WBF was the only organization which did not sell its credibility when Raja Amasheh convinced other organizations involved in her match with Amira Hamzaoui to simply take away the victory from her opponent afterwards.

Such acts of fairness cost the WBF future business, but in the long run, Goldberg and his two vice presidents Jean Marcel Nartz and Torben Seemann Hansen are convinced that boxing, and especially female boxing, will only survive and grow on the basis of indispensable fairness.

Women’s International Boxing Federation (WIBF)

The WIBF is the original organization in terms of female professional boxing and was founded by the ultimate pioneer in women’s prizefighting, “Battling” Barbara Buttrick, now a proud 85 years old, who was known as the “Mighty Atom of the Ring”. Buttrick, originally from England, claimed the women’s world titles at flyweight and bantamweight and retired in 1960, having relocated long before to the USA, with a reported excellent 30-1-1 record.

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In 1993, she formed the WIBF in Florida, long before any other organization even dared to consider sanctioning women to box. It took a while for all pieces to fall into place, but finally with the advent of future German superstar Regina Halmich – who went on to have a unique Hall-of-Fame career – the first WIBF world championship took place in Las Vegas in 1995 between Halmich and Yvonne Trevino, with the latter winning on a cut. It proved to be Halmich’s only career loss, as she went undefeated for the rest of her career over the next 12 years, contesting WIBF world titles an astonishing 44 (!) times. That set the standard, but all the big names in those dawning years of female boxing proudly held WIBF championships.

Still today, Barbara Buttrick presides over the WIBF, which is considered the origin of women’s pro boxing.

Global Boxing Union (GBU)

At the start of the new century, with women’s boxing being at an all-time high, Juergen Lutz set up the GBU in Germany, which was then considered the worldwide hotbed of female boxing with up to six-figure purses being paid. And Lutz was right in the “eye of the storm” and due to his association with Barbara Buttrick probably the most experienced administration of women’s boxing worldwide. Thus, the need was there for another women’s world sanctioning body and with the blessing of and cooperation from his partner Buttrick, Lutz continued to build the female side of the sport as president of the GBU.

From the first-ever GBU women’s world title fight in 2001, it quickly spread the world over with especially the USA taking a keen interest, besides GBU championship being held in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. While the GBU naturally took a foremost interest in female boxing, it also started to sanction male title bouts soon after.

The UNIFIED WOMENS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS ®, the most unique title in all of professional boxing, combines fairness, tradition and experience.

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