LinealBoxingChampion.com (LBC) - founded on September 22, 2018 - provides an impartial, reliable, up-to-date record of the Lineal Champions in boxing today.
We believe that champions should only lose their championship when defeated in the ring, in a fight – or to put it another way, “to be the man, you have to beat the man,” – a concept that is deep rooted in boxing history, stretching back almost 300 years, to the 1700s, when boxing’s first bareknuckle champions were crowned.
Similarly, The Ring Magazine’s key founding member, Nathaniel Stanley Fleischer famously ensured The Ring adhered to these principles:
A champion cannot be stripped of a title.
A title can only be vacated by a champion who retires, dies, or voluntarily relinquishes the crown to fight in a different weight class.
Fleischer recognized Jack Dempsey and Muhammad Ali as the true World Heavyweight Champions during their reigns, even when there were calls for them to be stripped of their titles due to inactivity (3 years in the case of Dempsey, and 2 years 10 months, until his February 1970 retirement for Ali). Keeping Ali as champion went against popular opinion of the time, but Fleischer held firm.
This commitment to upholding core, prize fighting, championship traditions, is partly why The Ring’s title has often been closely associated with the Lineal title.
However, In the 1990s, during a period in which The Ring was no longer awarding its Championship belt to divisional champions, the historians at the Cyber Boxing Zone - in particular Mike DeLisa and Tracy Callis - listed their account of Lineal Champions for all of boxing’s weight divisions. When The Ring reintroduced its belts in the early 2000s, it did not accurately follow its previous lineages, leading Mike DeLisa to say, “The Ring has forfeited its credibility by pulling names out of its ass to name fighters as champions.”
Finally, in 2012 The Ring Magazine changed its Championship Policy, consequently distancing itself from both Fleischer’s principles, and boxing’s traditional championship standards. Champions could now be stripped for several reasons – a champion being inactive for 18 months being one such reason (inactivity led to Tyson Fury being stripped of his Ring belt). Ring also altered their policy so that #4 and #5 ranked contenders could potentially fight #1 or #2 for a vacant Ring title.
The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (TBRB), which formed in 2012 also strips fighters for several reasons, including due to a period of inactivity of 18 months or longer. Founding member of the TBRB, Springs Toledo, acknowledges that the TBRB Championship is not the Lineal Championship.
Were John Ruiz and Nikolay Valuev two-time Heavyweight World Champions, a feat never achieved by Hall of Famers, Joe Louis, Joe Frazier, and Larry Holmes? Was Francesco Damiani really the World Heavyweight Champion in 1989, at time when an unbeaten Mike Tyson had decimated the division? If you view history through the eyes of the sanctioning bodies, then worryingly, the answer to these questions may be "yes."
At Cruiserweight, the WBA alone, currently has a "Super" champion, a "World" champion, an "Interim" champion, an "International" champion, and a "Champion In Recess." Of these five "champions," the first four will walk to the ring for their next fights holding belts that all "appear" to be the same.
The four major international sanctioning bodies provide boxers with extra opportunities to win “world title” belts, raising their profiles, and allowing their promoters to sell events as "world title fights," helping generate more money for everyone involved. There are positives to be gained from this, but there needs to be a way for boxing fans to differentiate the Lineal Champion of a division from a sanctioning body belt holder. Otherwise, confusion clouds the truth, and the achievements of boxing's legendary figures will get minimized.
#1 and #2 Contenders
LBC ensures that Lineal Championship vacancies are only filled when #1 fights #2, or in rare instances, when #1 fights #3. In order to limit bias, we only consider two fighters to be #1 and #2 in their respective division, if there is a majority consensus among the ratings listed by these 5 boxing websites: Boxing News, The Ring, TBRB, Boxing Monthly, and BoxRec. This is not as difficult as it may sound. As of September 22, 2018, there are currently six Lineal Champions, and in the remaining eleven divisions, there is a consensus “top 2” in eight of them.
Click here for more information on our Lineal Championship Policy.
LinealBoxingChampion.com is a not-for-profit organization and has no links to any promotional companies or broadcasters. Our aim is simple: to provide an honest, fair account of past and present Lineal Champions in professional boxing. LinealBoxingChampion.com is the record keeper of boxing’s Lineal title.
Click here for the current Lineal Champions/Top contenders, in boxing today:
Click here to see the Lineal Heavyweight World Champions:
Over the next few months, we will be uploading the full lists of Lineal Champions for the other 16 divisions.