A hundred years ago, on July 2nd, 1921 Jack Dempsey and Georges Carpentier, along with us, became pioneers when, under the name of the National Boxing Association (NBA), we sanctioned the first world title fight in the history of boxing. It was, undoubtedly, a firm step in the evolution of this sport that, from that moment on, was modernized to become one of the most relevant disciplines on the planet.
But since life is changing and constantly evolving, in 1962 we felt we had to face a new challenge. It was time to go global and we decided to call ourselves the World Boxing Association (WBA) to promote the development of pugilism in all countries and support more athletes. Growth continued and, thus, the ranking system was created, devised by my father Gilberto Mendoza and praised by Bob Arum. We also reduced the number of rounds from 15 to 12, changed the weigh-in ceremony to 24 hours before the fight, and have worked in the constant defense of the boxer.
In 100 years we have changed a lot. Always in search of excellence. Today everything is much faster and adapting is mandatory. Just as the rules have evolved, we, always the pioneers, took a step forward with the “Boxing is One” campaign, and opened our doors to Olympic boxing, an initiative capitalized with the Future WBA Champions program that has helped more than 11 national federations, more than 100 athletes, including Olympic, European, World and Pan-American medalists. We live the same passion.
A passion that runs through my veins, because boxing is in my blood. That is why I feel an even greater commitment to lead the most important organization, the pioneer, which today reaches its centennial. This celebration reaffirms the reason for which we were born: to give our best for the boxers, the trainers, and the fans, fundamental pillars of our sport.
We will keep on giving our heart and soul to ensure that boxing continues to evolve with our work. We have taken on new challenges, while maintaining our values and daily effort. A group of passionate people sanctioned the first world title fight, and that was the seed that harvested and turned into the formation of athletes, officials, and trainers who have learned through the WBA-Academy, the first institution to provide formal training in boxing; and our KO Drugs program that accompanies the athletes to not take the wrong path and give them the opportunity to choose this sport.
We are here to work for the systematic development of boxing, the facts prove it. Time goes by, and it has been 100 years, but our actions and changes have reaffirmed that we are the pioneers. We will continue growing, we will continue evolving, and we will continue being the first ones.
WBA, simply the pioneers!