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History of the IBF

History of the USBA

History of the IBF

At the annual convention of the United States Boxing Association (USBA), held at Resort International Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, during April of 1983, the delegates assembled felt the organization had grown considerably and while we had crowned a number of national champions, the opportunity for advancement worldwide was severely limited. Those limitations may well have been the results of internal conflict in the world sanctioning bodies. However, with so many youngsters about to enter the professional boxing field, there should be some place for them to showcase their talents with the ultimate goal being a chance to fight for a world title and to someday become a champion. Thus, did the delegates assembled vote to establish an international division and to declare itself the United States Boxing Association-International (USBA-I).

The goals of the newly formed USBA-I were to initially recognize as world champions those boxers who had already distinguished themselves as champions and might desire to box under our banner. We felt they had earned the right to be considered and any deprivation of that right would not be in our nor their best interests.

Additionally, we sought to provide an opportunity for new promoters to enter the promotional area which in effect caused the doors to open for more boxers, trainers, managers, as well as those who would derive an ancillary benefit from the events held in various arenas around the world. In short, the USBA-I began opening doors worldwide that heretofore were closed to a great many in the boxing industry.

Several boxing writers and a number of columnists began to refer to us as "alphabet soup" but the members felt that our beginning could easily be equated to expansion, something that has been going on in other sports for quite some time. Isn't it strange that when baseball, football or basketball expand to meet its franchise needs it is referred to as a necessity due to growing pains? When boxing does likewise, the critics appear eager to rip us apart and to belittle our efforts to open the doors of progress.

The initial ratings of the USBA-I carried Marvelous Marvin Hagler as its middleweight champion, a position he also enjoyed in the other two world sanctioning bodies. Marvin was preparing to box Wilford Scypion for his title in Providence, RI when a dispute arose as to whether the bout would be for 12 rounds or 15. When it was decided by the other two sanctioning bodies that the bout would be 12 rounds, the champion balked and their sanction was withdrawn. The USBA-I was asked to sanction the bout and did so, permitting the show to go on and the champion to retain his title.

During July of 1983, we held an Executive Committee Meeting in Reno, Nevada, to plan for a founding convention to be held during November in Newark, NJ. At the Reno meeting, several invited people, who has not had a chance to participate in international boxing events, became members of the USBA-I, pledged to support our goals and principles and accepted positions in the organization that would aide in the formation of this international boxing body.

The founding convention was held in November, 1983 at the Quality Inn in Newark, NJ and was well attended by delegates and well-wishers worldwide. The goals and policies were reaffirmed, three boxing events were scheduled for November and December in Asia, and various productive appointments were made by the President. The spirit that prevailed was that the USBA-I was here to offer advancement possibilities to all who wanted them and to see that those who were shut out in the past now had tremendous hope for the future.

During December of 1983, Larry Holmes, everyone's recognized champion of the heavyweights, decided he wanted to box under our banner. We accepted Mr. Holmes with open arms and by having a person of his stature with us gave a measure of credibility, causing other champions to look our way. There was and still is a feeling that we represent fair play and will work closely with the boxer, promoter, trainer and manager to accomplish that purpose.

At the annual convention held in Reno, NV during May of 1984, the delegates voted to change the name from USBA-I to the International Boxing Federation (IBF). To carry on the business of the IBF/USBA, the opening of an office was approved. The office is currently staffed on a full-time basis and serves as an informational center for boxing activity. See contact information here.

The IBF is a voluntary association organized by representatives of various athletic commissions and other interested persons for the purpose of obtaining greater efficiency and uniformity in the supervision of professional boxing and to encourage and assist professional boxing. This organization promulgates rules, suggest standards for boxing guidance, establishes champions and prepares monthly ratings of the outstanding contenders. This information is shared with the press, the public and all full and associated members of the IBF.

One of the finer moments in this organization has been something we have struggled for in the last 10 years--the IBF retirement and trust plan. We want to make sure that these fighters take care of themselves and put something away when they are no longer able to challenge another fighter in the ring. This plan demands that anyone fighting for an IBF title must put aside 2% of his earnings, which is invested by a financial planner; the fighter is unable to touch this money until he is 35 or 40 having paid into the plan for five years. The money accumulates in the fighter's own portfolio with the investment company looking over his assets. Thus far, we have had good success with the plan.

In addition, in 1986, we stared the Special Assistance to Retired Boxers (SARB) fund because were were tired of seeing some of the older fighters complete their careers and then fall upon hard times without anyone helping them. At the annual convention, we sell clothing and merchandise with a portion of the proceeds going to the SARB fund. We've been helpful to some people who've been in need, and that makes us very proud. Unfortunately, we don't have the big dollars to fund this project the way we'd like to; but it's a step in the right direction.

A major concern of this organization has been the consistency necessary to bring about competent, fair decisions in a boxing match. While we cannot expect every official to see the same thing at ringside, we can certainly try to have them come more in line with each other. Toward that end, we have held off-year seminars in Europe, Asia and South America, as well as the U.S. At each annual convention, we also hold a seminar and distribute certificates indicating that the participant has been involved in at least 10 hours of officiating training. We've found that this type of open dialogue helps to make these officials more consistent, and brings about better decisions which is something sorely needed in our industry.

At the 1995 convention, we started a scholarship fund to help deserving high school graduates along their way financially to college. We recognize that education is the key to better understanding and better communication worldwide, and we are committed to helping students who display a thirst for some knowledge through the educational process.

The farm system of boxing is the club shows and the amateurs. We desperately try to impress upon the local promoters to see that their amateur bouts continue and then on to the professional ranks. We need more club boxing so that we might spawn good professionals in the pay for fight ranks. We're finding that the venues for such boxing are decreasing but in certain areas, they're holding their own. When we are able to provide donations to those people who're trying to make club fighting and amateur fighting a reality, we do.

In an effort to give small promoters and fledgling fighters more of an opportunity to participate, we have established US regional titles. The country has been divided into several regions and we permit boxing in each region and cross-regional competition. This has given some of these fighters an incentive to win a belt and then move up the ladder toward getting another belt of higher stature. In an effort to be as global as we'd like to be, we've initiated the IABU (InterAmerica Boxing Union), which covers the Central and South Americas, and gives boxers there an opportunity to fight for a title and be recognized on a world level. 

We've further moved to broaden our base by creating the IBF Pan Pacific titles operating out of Australia and the IBF Asian titles operating out of Nara City, Japan. Those two ancillary bodies are desperately trying to ferret out new and upcoming fighters with the ability to move up through the ranks to challenge for a title. As indicated previously, one of our strong points is that we offer opportunity to the disadvantaged and deprived.

During 1998, we celebrated our 15th year in existence. It's been a good ride for this long period of time and when we look back at the accomplishments for the fighters, promoters, managers and trainers, we feel a sense of fulfillment. We are troubled, however, by the intrusion of the government in our business and unfortunately they listen to unbusinesslike people who really do not understand the industry, overall. Many people try to equate boxing with other sports and it cannot be done so easily because it's a very difficult business to understand and administer. The federal government, unfortunately, is trying to micro-manage small businesses and that's in direct conflict with the tenets which made this country great.

Thank you for your interest you've shown in the IBF and do take the opportunity to join us as we continue moving forward in the name of boxing.

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History of the USBA

The United States Boxing Association (USBA) was organized in Washington, DC, in September 1976, immediately following the annual convention of the World Boxing Association in that city.

During the WBA meeting in question, many US members of that organization became so repulsed with the repugnant manner in which the business of the WBA was being conducted that they decided the time was at hand to withdraw from the WBA adn form a new boxing organization composed of legitimate boxing commissioners, legally appointed by governmental authority in their own respective states and territories of the United States of America.

Subsequently, an organizational meeting was held in Washington, DC, with 24 US commissions represented. Another meeting was held in Indianapolis, IN, in April 1977, to consider a Constitution and By-Laws and the overall structure of this new association.

On December 2, 1977, the first annual convention of the USBA was held in Chicago, IL. Officers were elected, the Constitution and By-Laws adopted, committees appointed and the USBA became a reality.

The principle goal of the USBA has always been to give every talented and aspiring professional boxer in America an opportunity to make a name for himself in his chosen profession and to place every deserving American boxer in his proper perspective at home and throughout the world.

The USBA, through its unbiased system of rating boxers and the conduct of its championships, is making a contribution to the longevity, health and welfare of professional boxing in America. USBA champions, upon acquiring the USBA title, immediately gain world class celebrity distinction throughout the world of boxing.

Much progress has been made, yet we acknowledge that our task has just begun. Therefore, we invite our entire membership, the press and news media and every boxing enthusiast in America to join with the officers and general membership of the USBA in our labor and dedication for the betterment of professional boxing in America.

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