The World Boxing Association (WBA) decided to leave without effect the interim championships of the organization through a resolution published on Wednesday, August 25th, while the Gold Champions will no longer appear “above the rankings”. Instead, they will occupy a place in it among the rated boxers.
The decision was taken by the Championships Committee and is another step in the plan to reduce titles that was announced by the president of the organization, Gilberto Jesús Mendoza, a few weeks ago.
After a thorough analysis of each division, the WBA has announced several mandatory fights and box-offs between selected fighters. While the interim championships are no longer in effect and the interim title fights that had been approved will now be eliminator fights, the WBA has also announced a number of mandatory and box-off fights between selected fighters.
The resolution explains the rules on which the body relies to make the recent decisions. First, it cites rule C.14, which states that both fighters and promoters must know the rules of the WBA, in addition to the resolutions or decisions of the committees. Rule C.29 states that the Championships Committee may select a mandatory challenger for each division or it may be done via elimination fights. The selection may be subject to conditions, but generally, the highest rated boxer in the division or the regional champion ranked in the top five will qualify to be named an official contender, unless he is not available to fight.
On the other hand, rules C.30 and C.31, which are related, state that the chairman of the Championships Committee may notify the two highest available contenders or the highest ranked regional champions, or a combination thereof, of their obligation to fight an elimination bout. Alternatively, a box-off between four ranked boxers may be ordered to determine the official challenger in a category.
The Chairman of the Championships Committee may grant a period of 30 days to reach an agreement in cases of elimination bouts or a Box-off and if no agreement is reached, a purse bid will be called, as explained in rule C.32.
Rule C.33, which shall be expressly applicable, states that if a boxer refuses to participate in a mandatory fight, an elimination bout or a box-off, his title may become vacant, or he may be demoted or eliminated from the rankings.
Based on the rules detailed above, the now former interim champions will no longer defend the titles. At the discretion of the President and the Championships Committee, they will be considered as mandatory contenders to the world champion of the division, either to fight for the championship as an official challenger directly or, depending on the case, to participate in a Box-off elimination bout to determine the official challenger.
Once designated as the official challenger, the boxer may be allowed to participate in other bouts subject to the approval of the Committee in accordance with WBA Rule C.13, Limitations of Bouts.
In the case of reigning Gold champions, they will no longer appear “above the rankings”; however, they will occupy a place in the lists as from the next world ranking. They will be ranked just below the former interim champion or the official challenger, while they may be ordered to participate in eliminations or box-offs depending on the division.
Gold champions and regional champions who are not mandatory challengers or will not be participating in an eliminator or box-off, may be allowed to participate in title defenses, all with the prior approval of the committee.
The Championships Committee can still order mandatory defenses of the Gold Championship or the regional championship. The resolution sent out Wednesday supersedes any of those issued in the past and helps advance the WBA’s world championship reduction plan.