Others may change, but the IBO stays the same
It’s a New Year, but the mandate remains the same for the International Boxing Organization.
The IBO entered 2015 in the same manner it exited 2014, with an aim to remain the sport’s undisputed champion of integrity through transparency, honesty and trust. Evidence of success comes in the form of current and former champions like Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, Ricky Hatton and Manny Pacquiao, who’ve worn IBO belts with honor while ascending to superstar status in and out of the ring.
And to find one of its biggest fans, literally, one need look no further than Klitschko himself.
The world’s best heavyweight won the IBO title in 2006 with his destruction of Chris Byrd, and has since defended it 17 times – while picking up recognition from two other sanctioning bodies along the way.
The momentum doesn’t stop there.
Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is another fighter whose profile has risen significantly since he won the IBO title belt. The Kazakhstan native has worn the crown since dispatching Lajuan Simon in a single round in December 2011.
And lest anyone forget the world’s smallest title-holder, strawweight king Hekkie Budler, won the IBO belt at 105 pounds in 2011 – conquering his second weight class in doing so – but, like Golovkin, didn’t become full-fledged champion of another organization until 2014.
It’s been the same story in the recent past as well.
Filipino Nonito Donaire – the Boxing Writers Association of America’s fighter of the year in 2012 -- was an IBO flyweight title-holder with three defenses way back between 2007 and 2009. And his celebrated countryman, Pacquiao, was recognized by the IBO alone as the world's best 140-pounder after his two-round pay-per-view blowout of Hatton in 2009.
Former WBC claimant and widely regarded top middleweight Sergio Martinez won and defended the IBO's 154-pound championship in 2003-04, and ex-consensus world No. 1 light heavyweight Chad Dawson was the organization's standard-bearer between a defeat of Antonio Tarver in 2008 and a loss to Jean Pascal in 2010.
Still, though it can take a while to convert apathetic fans and media members who constantly rail for change while nonetheless disregarding the IBO's efforts to make changes, the effort won't end.
"I’m going to continue doing it because it’s still enjoyable to me," said Ed Levine, the IBO’s president.
We are a serious sanctioning body where mandate from the beginning has been to be transparent, honest and respected for its integrity.