Boxing's 10 Longest Reigning Champions
WBC, WBA, IBF, WBO, IBO, WBU, IBA, WBF, NABO. Super champion, diamond champion, interim champion, champion in recess. Continental Americas champion, FECARBox champion, European Union Champion.
There are so many champions and layers of champions in boxing today that it's easy to see how even those of us who follow the sport closely can get lost. With sanctioning bodies often finding ways to have three men hold the same belt, it's become hard to take championships seriously. Few boxers win a belt and hold it for the long term.
That's not true for the 10 men who have made this list as the longest reigning champions in the sport today.
Relatively unknown outside of Asia, Chris John is the longest-reigning champion in boxing having held the WBA featherweight title since September of 2003.
John (47-0-2), who has fought virtually his entire career in his native Indonesia, won the interim WBA championship against Oscar Leon in 2003 and has successfully defended it 16 times. During his reign, he has scored notable victories over Derrick Gainer, Juan Manuel Marquez and Rocky Juarez in his only trip to the United States.
John has shown no interest in returning to the United States for any high profile fights, virtually ensuring he will remain relatively unknown in this country.
Wladimir Klitschko currently holds the WBA, IBF, WBO and Ring Magazine heavyweight championships. He has held at least a share of the heavyweight crown since an April 2006 TKO victory over Chris Byrd claimed him the IBF belt.
Klitschko (58-3 51 KO) has dominated the heavyweight division since his last loss—which he suffered in 2004 to Lamon Brewster—and has defended his IBF title 12 times.
The younger of the Klitschko brothers will return to the ring in November for his 13th defense of the heavyweight crown. He will be facing undefeated Polish heavyweight Mariusz Wach. Wach is a relative unknown leaving Wladimir the prohibitive favorite to continue his reign of dominance.
It's no surprise—given the Klitschko brothers' dominance of the heavyweight division—that Vitali joins younger brother Wladimir in the ranks of longest-reigning champions.
Vitali Klitschko (44-2 40 KO) returned to the ring from retirement in October 2008 and immediately regained a share of the title with a dominant victory over Samuel Peter. With the win, he became the WBC heavyweight champion for a second time.
The elder Klitschko has defended the title successfully eight times and will be going for his ninth this Saturday when he faces undefeated Manuel Charr in Moscow.
Anselmo Moreno is one of those guys who flies under the radar. That's largely due to the fact that he competes in the lower weight classes of boxing, which are very popular in Central and South America but have limited appeal in the United States.
Moreno (33-1-1 12 KO) won the WBA bantamweight championship in May of 2008 and has successfully defended the belt 10 times. His most notable recent defense was a unanimous decision win over former champion Vic Darchinyan in December of last year.
Moreno has a chance to make a name for himself in October when he moves up in weight and challenges Abner Mares for the WBC super-bantamweight crown.
Guillermo Jones won the WBA cruiserweight title in 2008 with a 10th-round knockout of Firat Arslan. Since then he has been relatively inactive only fighting twice (once in 2010 and once in 2011).
Jones (38-3-2 20 KO) will make the third defense of the belt he won in August 2008 against interim WBA champion Denis Lebedev. Many feel that the much younger Russian will be too much for the 40-year-old Jones, whose inactivity has extended his reign.
Tavoris Cloud won the IBF light-heavyweight championship in August of 2008 by unanimous decision over Clinton Woods. Cloud has held the belt since then making four successful defenses.
Cloud (24-0 19 KO) was set to defend against the dangerous former champion Jean Pascal later this year. But after a series of postponements and problems, the fight is currently on hold.
Marco Huck has been one of the best cruiserweight fighters in the world for several years now. He won the WBO championship in August of 2009 by defeating Victor Emilio Ramirez by unanimous decision. He has successfully defended the title, despite a loss at heavyweight, nine times.
Huck (34-2-1 25 KO) will seek to make his 10th defense of the title in November when he faces Firat Arslan in Germany. He has also dabbled as a heavyweight, losing a highly controversial majority decision to WBA regular champion Alexander Povetkin this past February.
Another fighter from the lower weight divisions, Moruti Mthalane has held the IBF flyweight championship since decisioning Julio Cesar Miranda in November of 2009.
Mthalane (29-2 20 KO), who has fought most of his career in his native South Africa, is a virtual unknown in the United States. He has successfully defended his title four times and has shown tremendous power for a fighter in his weight class.
Andre Ward will put his reputation as the best 168-pound fighter in the world on the line this Saturday when he faces light-heavyweight champion "Bad" Chad Dawson.
Ward (25-0 13 KO) won the WBA super-middleweight title in impressive fashion by defeating Mikkel Kessler in November of 2009. En route to winning Showtime's Super Six tournament Ward defended the title four times against impressive opposition including Allen Green, Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham and Carl Froch.
Ward also added the WBC title to his resume in defeating Froch late last year. He is seeking to make his fifth successful defense this Saturday night against the very dangerous Chad Dawson in his hometown of Oakland, California.
Takashi Uchiyama is another fighter who is not a household name in the United States. Fighting his entire career in his native Japan, Uchiyama won the WBA junior lightweight championship in January 2010 by knocking out previously undefeated Juan Carlos Salgado.
Uchiyama (18-0-1 15 KO) has successfully defended his belt on five occasions, including a notable knockout of Jorge Solis on New Year's Eve last year. Like many other fighters in the lower weight classes, he seems to have little interest in competing outside his home country.