The president of the IBO has explained how boxers ranked at 29 and 35 fought for the organisation’s junior featherweight title at the weekend.
Thabiso Sonjica, 29th, won the title by stopping Silvester Lopez, 35th, at the Orient Theatre in East London on Saturday night.
On Sunday, Ed Levine defended the IBO’s right to let the two fight for the title. He said other controlling bodies often sanctioned title fights between boxers with similar rankings.
"The most-vaunted associations often recognise title fights between even lower-ranked boxers," Levine said.
"For example, the WBO recently ratified a fight for one of their titles between boxers ranked 65th and 43rd.
"Other associations often disguise the rankings of the boxers fighting for their titles by artificially inflating their standings to give the impression of legitimacy," he claimed.
Levine said the IBO set a cut-off ranking of 35th but other associations sometimes sanctioned title fights between boxers with lower rankings.
With at least ten, probably more, organisations awarding “world” titles in the 17 divisions, there could be nearly 200 champions.
Years ago there were only eight divisions and one champion in each.
Neither Sonjica, a South Africa, nor Lopez, a Filipino, has beaten a top-10 opponent. Two other South Africans, Jeffrey Mathabula and Takalani Ndlovu, are generally regarded as being among the top ten in the world in the junior featherweight division.
Four Filipinos in the division are ranked higher than Lopez, including the formidable Nonito Donaire.